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.

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“See zos chickens?” her old Greek grandfather would say pointing to the pigeons, “all of zos are yours.” Growing up, all little girls think they’re princesses. But Maria’s kingdom never had a prince, never a castle. She reigned over her “chickens” and olive trees. Yup, it was all Greek to her. Rules in this kingdom were strict. Only A’s in school. No sleepovers. No painting the walls. In pre-school the teachers had her hearing tested three times, thinking that her piercingly loud voice must come from some sort of deafness. Maria, herself, never realized her life was odd until grade school, when the very American idea of “personal bubble space” puzzled her. And when physically unable to abide by the “arm’s length apart rule” Maria’s teacher gave her a hula hoop, which she had to walk around with as to not disrupt anyone’s personal space. When a little boy bothered her in middle school, Maria’s hot temper (Greek Blood as Maria’s father called it), got the best of her, and she yelled out a curse “gammoto!” and punched him in the face. In high school she embraced the crooked nose, the Christmas boat and the five gallon olive oil tin in her pantry. When Maria’s grandfather first saw a squirrel he said, “See zos fings” pointing to the unknown animal, “Do not be afraid of zem. You are a Greek, baby.” And with that, she had confidence in her future, as a non-squirrel fearing Greek princess. Maria is also the editor in chief for "The Rock" and "Southpaw". You can contact me at mkalaitzandonakes@bearingnews.org


  1. Yep, yep, yep, I definitely wanna keep writing this blog with you. It’s just too lovely and powerful to stop.
    This is an awesome article considering it’s so short, and about a garage. I think that’s really true about Columbia–everything can be in the waiting.


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