Monday, August 09, 2010


On the edge of a worn asphalt driveway, embedded in the graying tar substance that was new and fresh decades before, is a large sign atop a wide cream-white metal post. The sign sits thirty feet above the parking lot that is littered with crumbling pebbles of asphalt.
The sign is unlike most, neither a rectangle or square, neither circle or oval. It is at least four feet across and three feet high and it is a blend of many shapes. Its right side is curved like a circle, though it extends down into a point both above and below. The left side is a mix of curve and point as well. The interior space is painted in a creamy white. The edging around the sign is painted pale pink as is the vertical script lettering in the center which reads, ‘Shaw’s Plaza.’ The shape and style and lettering of the sign speaks of a by-gone era of architecture, but the sign and post itself are in good form without any signs of rust or wear besides a general fading of color.
Below the sign is a another smaller rectangular white sign that is painted and has black lettering that is a little to the left of center. It says, ‘Sweet Memories Confectionery.’ The letters are spelled with the kind of temporary plastic letters used in movie theater marquees, though the letters themselves look static and slightly worn and small compared to the painted sign above.
The parking lot itself is large and mostly bare without any distinguishing lines to delineate individual parking spots. A single blue minivan is parked. It’s side door is open and a Latin man with tan skin sits on the floor of the van, his feet finding comfort on the asphalt driveway. Two children hover around him with half-eaten ice cream cones in their sticky hands.
Across the parking lot from the sign and the minivan is a building whose front is made of plate glass windows and whose wooden sides take turns between blue, white and pink. The edges of the building are lined with light bulbs in precise intervals, looking like permanent, over-sized Christmas lights. The bulbs line the thin, flat roof and they line the vertical edge where two walls meet. Some of the bulbs are gray, some are missing, but most remain in place, perhaps waiting for darkness.
The building faces the street and sidewalk, looking at the world through glass windows. From the street in front, it is hard to see inside the store because of the flat roof that extends over the building and to the edge of the sidewalk. The extended flat roof provides the thick shade for the patio, which sits between the sidewalk and the actual entrance to the shop which at least fifteen feet from the sidewalk.
There are 6 circular white metal tables on the cement patio. Four hard plastic chairs are clustered around each table, each chair being either pink, blue or white. The legs for each chair are not singular metal legs, but instead are wide metal triangles. Two metal triangles emerge from the bottom of each seat, they extend at an 35 degree angle and the base of the triangle rests along the patio floor. The tables are unoccupied and covered with the shade of the thick flat roof above.
Beyond the plate glass windows is a fully stocked candy shop. Bins of liquorice, peppermint and strawberry taffy sit in individual wooden baskets. By the long counter beside the register is a glass case full of fudge in different forms, some white, some marbled, some mixed with nuts or topped with toffee. The simple glass shelves that line the walls facing the street are crowded with bags of jelly candies in every imaginable shape and color. There are green beans, blue sharks, pink bears, rainbow colored ropes, orange smiles, and purple worms.
Towards the side of the shop is a glass wall facing the parking lot. There are several more circular white metal table on that bright end of the shop. Surrounding each table are four white metal chairs with red vinyl seats.
The smell of sugar escapes from the open glass door and into the front patio, as does the loud metal music coming from a radio behind the counter. A man’s gravelly voice bellows, ‘search aaaannnd seek and destroooyyyyyyy!”