There is light and dark. They are constantly juxtaposed. And sometimes they coalesce.
The Avenue is almost always busy. Day and night, the traffic horde, which was never meant for this old, narrow street, flows like an artery pumping life through downtown. Good for business, it's a wonder there are not more crunches and fender benders, as parked angled cars line both sides of the thoroughfare.
The alley behind it parallels the whole length. It's quite wide, to allow delivery trucks easy access. Supply and demand. One side keeps the other side going.
I was out enjoying one of my rare nights on the town. It was just getting cooled down at the beginning of Autumn. The bars were crowded and the Avenue hummed with the sound of people seeking entertainment, relaxation and/or escape.
On impulse, I ducked into one of the wide alley entrances. I hoped to avoid the increasing din.
It was as though I stepped into another world. Sure, I heard the bustling crowd. But sounds faded as I progressed into the alley. The lights set above the buildings shone brightly enough, however they also cast shadows, hugging the storebacks and pooling at their bases. It felt encompassing and as I ventured further into the alley, the light seemed to dim.
During the day, trucks came and unloaded supplies then left. At night it was surprisingly empty. The alley was for deliveries only.
Oddly, I was the only person traversing the alley. Not one soul showed up from the Avenue. I heard no reverberating sound on the brick and cobblestone ground.
The feeling grew in me that I was encased as if I was on some kind of trail, witnessing whatever came my way.
I looked in a dim window and saw a woman. She was dressed in the style common in the last part of the nineteenth century. Her appearance was fleeting, wispy like an old photograph fading. She didn't notice me as she sat slowly eating and talking, much like the folks that very night.
I pressed on and a shadow stirred to my right and appeared to break away like a cloud from the penumbra cast by the building. It hovered, never entering the light, a shape vaguely like the figure of a person. My impression was that whatever was there would not or could not enter the better lit alleyway itself. I felt fear.
I was not afraid. But I sure had it impressed on me that I was surrounded with a reluctance a binding perhaps that kept something trapped in that alley.
I hurried to the next street access and reentered the pace of the evening.
This was the reverse of what I had just experienced. It was cool, free and full of the hopes fears and potential that marks all humanity.
As the Avenue was the artery carrying fresh life, the alley was a vein, bringing life back into circulation.
Something lingered in that alley, neither moving forward nor replenishing. Silly as it may seem, it was like a spiritual 'plaque' that built in resistance to life going on.
I hoped, prayed whatever was there would one day leave.