I joined a class at Grub Street. We weary onlookers were given 10 minutes to write flash prose about something that made us uncomfortable and/or alienated. This is my attempt.
El ojo de un huracán:
The cars are different. The smells are different. The sun is in the wrong place at the wrong times. I am frightened by the outside. The chaos of it all. Inside is good. I don't know anyones name, but the wafts of simmering breakfast are at least familiar. Hot tea rests on the table. They call it coca tea. I am told it is always a good tie to have coca tea.
We order a breakfast of eggs with bread. The eggs are different. The bread is good. Breakfast is good, but as the meal progresses, the time that I will have to face the chaos outside draws ever more near. Outside is ruleless. Cars blast by the obviously invisible pedestrians. Buildings appear to be intentionally unfinished. I retreat inside to a fresh glass of juice and more time at the table. Sara's eyes stare wide, I hide.
We met a man named Pratab. He is visiting from Florida. He has been floating through this pool of chaos for weeks. To him, the outside is calm and ordinary. He spun a magic web of words that pulled us to the light. We round a corner into a market of unidentifiable animals hanging on hooks. Rainbow swirls of fresh fruit draw us near. Have you ever had a mango? No? Mangos are bliss. There is no dignified way to eat a mango. We are told to sink our teeth in. To paint our face with mango flesh. Smiles grow. Outside is good.
My eyes were closed tight. I never got swept up and trampled by traffic. I never shouted at a thief or cursed the drivers. I never said hello to strangers. I never felt comfortable sitting on a bus and rolling by a dry landscape of sand, with mountains of roofless homes creating a mosaic of color. A golden sun colored landscape that glistened past the window was wasted on me.
But chaos is fleeting. Chaos becomes a pattern. Patterns are familiar. I like patterns. Once the veil of chaos dissipated, I noticed the blue cerulean painted facades, the vivid garments billowing in an ocean breeze, the richness of my soundings, and the happiness of the people. I became a piece of the technicolored culture. I didn't want to leave.