The A lley Christopher Foster
n the beginning I was simply there, staring past those two solemn brick walls at the street beyond the confines of this alley. It may not have been the beginning of my existence, but it was the earliest point in my stream of thought that I was conscious of the world around me; a world that continued to spin without a single acknowledgement of my existence. I wasn’t even sure if I did exist. There was nothing to tell me otherwise. It was my prison. There was no physical wall that kept me from escaping; just a thought in the back of my mind: a subtle recognition of the futility of trying to leave. I was somehow connected to this spot. There was no need for me to go elsewhere, and yet there was every unknown reason for me to stay. At first I contented myself with sitting in the corner, the spot farthest from the street that the alley opened into. I was afraid of what lay outside my alley, past the dumpster with the chipping paint, beyond the walls covered in aimless graffiti, where the light and noise combined in hectic harmony. Day after day I watched people pass on the other side of my unseen barricade, oblivious to my curious stares. Sunlight and moonlight, day and night, blended as these long days wore on. I had little sense of time, but every day felt like an eternity. I always wondered why I was here. I knew I had once been a part of that world, had a life outside of this place, but I couldn’t remember, no matter how hard I tried, what had put me in this situation. Eventually I came to accept it, and with this I grew more curious of the world outside my alley. I ventured from my perch in the corner, inching closer and closer to the entrance each day. At first I was worried the people that walked by would see me and wonder what I was doing there, assuming the worst. Whenever someone turned their attention down the narrow space, I would freeze, and they would continue on. It didn’t take long for me to realize that no matter how careless I was, no one would be able to see me. I was no longer a part of their world; just a spectator living out his days in this dark dank amphitheater.