Saturday, August 4, 2012

Mazeros' Drugstore

It sat on the corner and you entered through one of those odd angled "corner doors" that had steps down to either sidewalk with a pillar in between

It sat adjacent to some other business on the 2nd avenue side of the block
An insurance agent
A notary
I don't remember
It was surely something that a 12 yr old would never care about

When you walked into Mazeros' drugstore the ceiling fans turned slowly above you and the long, dark wood floor drew you right inside

The place was filled with all sorts of sundry items that also were of little interest to me
Cotton balls
Rubbing alcohol
Ace bandages
Dr Scholl's foot pads

For me, it was all about a particularly large glass and wood display case
Back then, I entered that door so many times with my grandmother or my grandfather and
was funneled to the back of the store.
Pushed along by unseen hands to where that case waited.

Passing the old soda fountain counter with the round, spinning chrome and leather stools and the old, tarnished cash register with it's numbers that popped up as Mr. Mazeros' arthritic fingers rang in the purchases

It was the case that held it all for me
The now and laters
The chocolate bars
The Swedish fish
The baseball cards
Neat rows of all the things a 12 year old boy could want

I didn't know it then but the world around me was changing
Industry closures and recessions rearing themselves on the neighborhood periphery
As I was entering middle school and meeting a hundred new faces daily
Each of us colliding like tiny particles and, as life insists, rocketing off in as many unknown directions just as quickly.

Thirty and more years later I can imagine the faint trails of them all.
Whatever the cause and effect of that collision, it surely played a part in bouncing me further out there, into the mostly solitary universe I was already busy creating and in no hurry to leave.

A 12 yr old never thinks that much about the changes happening around him
Never notices that a neighborhood is already in it's decline
That the people he loves are aging and that life is visibly and terribly fragile
Even with all the signs showing
It happens almost unseen

It hits me sometimes
As it did just now
Not because of a certain birthday passing, or a marker or an event
Not because of a death or a birth

Maybe it is because I am returning to myself inside
After years of faking adulthood and playing "grown up" to an ever growing audience of that certain, expectant misery, I am creating a life from the same universe I dwelt in all those years ago

I am 12
Or 42
It's just a number after all
We hold them as being so important, don't we?
16, 18, 21, 30, 40, 50
So eager to reach them and to enjoy whatever freedoms and fears come with them
And so many get stuck along the way in their numbers games along the wa

Numbers mean nothing in my world
And it is now a world that has everything this boy could want
Well, almost everything

Mazeros drugstore is long gone
Just an empty lot the last time I was home
No trace it ever stood there on the corner of Hazelwood and 2nd Ave

I missed it's passing along the way
Too caught up in 21 or 30 
I didn't know what a treasure it was then
I didn't think that it would one day be missed so much along with all the rest 

So now I keep it inside
And there I find it as wonderful as ever
Imagining, one more time, swinging around that corner post
The force propelling me the three steps up and walking through that corner door
It resides with all the other wishes which can never come true
One more Friday night wrestling show with my grandfather
One more garden bulb planting with my grandmother
One more time, face pressed to a glass and wood case
Believing the old cash register, with all it's numbers, will never say
No sale

nicolas hall

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