Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Green Gate

Several blocks away from the UT Tower, a young man renting an apartment on the west side of campus leaves the warmth of his room to meet friends for dinner on The Drag. Putting in earphones, he presses the ‘play’ button on his iPod. His habitual path takes him along 22nd Street. On the corner where this street intersects with Nueces is another apartment complex, bounded on two sides by a tall metal fence: painted green to blend with the hedge behind it. Hardly noticing the green fence, he pauses just beside it, and takes out his cell phone. He leans against it momentarily while a woman passes him, and then straightens before returning the cell to the pocket of his dark coat. Meanwhile, the music in his ears prevents him from hearing the car pull into the lot around the fence corner.

A man wearing a black coat and a black hat steps out of his car and looks towards his destination, a room in the apartment building behind the fence. He is many years older than the man with the iPod, and is returning home with a bagful of groceries. The grocery bag is set down as he leans to press the numbers on the combination lock for the gate.

Neither of these two men notices the young blond woman with a camera watching them from across the street. On a mission from her architecture professor, she has recently located the moonlight tower on the corner of 22nd and Nueces. Bundled in a long red coat, she has investigated the site and now takes note of the activity along the green fence. She watches the man with the cell phone resume his easy movement down the sidewalk, and observes the older man as he unlocks the gate in the fence and walks through. Her camera flashes as she takes pictures. A few minutes later, the young woman crosses the street to another corner. She resumes taking notes and pictures.

Unexpectedly, a silver truck on the opposite corner of the intersection drives towards her and suddenly turns a sharp left before the stop sign. It swerves across the other lane aiming for a small driveway into the parking lot, but swiftly stops, just barely touching the fence. A slight scratch highlighted with green paint now adorns the bumper. Both front wheels block the sidewalk, and a faint curse emanates from inside the cab.

The woman across the street hurriedly turns back on her camera, spotting the opportunity for an interesting photo.

A second later, the black-coated man returns through the gate and notices the oddly-positioned truck. He halts to stare with curiosity as he lets the gate shut behind him. Leisurely, his head turns to look at the woman as she lifts the camera to her face. They smile at each other, and the man turns to walk away.

After a moment, the truck shifts to reverse and it gradually backs onto the street again. Another 90-degree turn faces the vehicle in the direction from which it came. It eagerly drives away.

The woman stands alone on the corner, putting the camera back into its case.


Jo said...

Very nice post! What an interesting series of events...

Olga Finkelshteyn said...

It is interesting to note the different levels of interaction between the characters and the gate. The first man physically touches the gate, but probably would not have if he wasn't forced to lean on it to let someone pass. The last man unintentially touches the gate with his car, but I'm sure would not have if he could have prevented it. Lastly, the man that should have the most interaction with the gate because he uses it everyday, actually has the least. Only the key and the push of his hand ever touch the gate.