Varnish


I can hear every breath, every footstep, every twitch. Its like in movies where someone is nervous and uncomfortable, and suddenly every time another person clears their throat the sound is earth shattering.
I can smell varnish. I have been in this room before, walked through this exhibit, and never noticed the smell. Now, I am about to be smothered by it. I normally enjoy smells like varnish or sealant, but today in this room, it is overwhelming. Someone is playing with the music box piece. I noticed it, but haven’t touched it yet. An unusual piece of artwork. The difference between the two time periods is striking. And the resulting music from each clearly shows change. So many buildings ruined. So many people without homes, churches, schools. In Ludington, we have the luxury of pretending that homeless people don’t exist– we don’t see them begging on Ludington avenue, or on the benches in the park. How nice for us. We don’t have city blocks full of houses and schools in ruin, covered in graffiti with broken windows and walls. We haven’t witnessed that close enough to really feel it. We see pictures and there is a momentary pang in our hearts, that poor broken city. But then we forget. We complain about the school we’re in. The hand dryers in the bathroom only blow cold air and there are bubbles in the linoleum.

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