On one of the last days of summer, a long-time friend and I went to the top of the new parking garage on Fifth and Walnut. We climbed up the ten stories, huffing and puffing, one hand on the rail, the other holding tightly to our berry cobbler and lemon poppy-seed muffin flavored ice cream from Sparky’s.
At every level we stopped for a moment, admiring the blue window panes. Each of the pieces of glass has a time of day written in clean white script at the bottom, some even have thoughtful quotations. The time listed is when a photo was taken somewhere in Columbia, as part of the one percent for art project. The windows have been colored a certain blue hue from each of the photos.
The shades of Columbia. The color of my city.
Though it was night, by the time we reached the top of the garage the ice cream was melting and leaving little spots of white and purple on the concrete floor. We ate it as fast as we could, but the wind from an approaching storm had picked up and was whipping my hair into the sticky mess.
We went to the edge and looked over. The sky was writhing under its blanket of clouds. And a mid-Missouri summer storm was upon us. Lightning cracked and thunder boomed. Little rain came, but just a mist came over and created a swirling fog.
We sat there, talking about life, poverty, religion – trying to answer all our big questions. And that’s the funny thing about this garage. It isn’t special by itself. But it allows for special moments.
It stands there, grey and erect, waiting for brooding teenagers to disregard the no loitering sign, and make the journey to the top. It waits for them to sit on the dangerous cliff of an edge and discuss the mysteries of life.
It waits for melted ice cream. It waits for goodbye hugs. It waits, because that’s what it is – parking. The garage is not a destination, just somewhere to wait for a little while. But I’ve learned, that in this city, you often learn the most when you’re waiting. Because you see the storm, rather than running through it. You give yourself up to the wind, rather than slamming the door for protection.
And you admire the blue, the many blues of this place. And the many blues of yourself.
By Maria Kalaitzandonakes
What are your moments on the garage? Comment below to let us know! P.S. Keep it PG.