The building was a simple: Nothing more than a giant rectangle with a high shed-style roof. That in itself didn’t have much appeal, but the large front facade was supposed to be all glass. On clear days, sunlight would have lit nearly every inch of that place. That wasn’t the case now. Plywood had been placed in almost every window. What was left of the beautiful glass front had been spider-webbed or was pock-marked by stones thrown by neighborhood children.
Litter blew over cracked concrete in the abandoned parking lot. Weeds and grass grew in these cracks and formed green veins that crawled from one side to the other. Occasionally, police parked in this space to monitor traffic. Women with children walked past it quickly. Some younger people hid there to smoke cigarettes and other things. The space didn’t have a great reputation. Nobody remembered what the building used to be.
★ ★ ★
She didn’t seem to smile very much. Joyous moments were sparse and didn’t last long. She went to her job, did what she needed to, even more than was necessary, but that’s what good employees did. She wanted to be a good employee because she figured she’d periodically receive pay-raises this way. Who doesn’t want more money?
She left work, drove home quietly listening to the same old songs, walked in the door and turned on the TV every night. If she’d had a particularly challenging day, she might have a glass of wine. After a few hours of this, the woman either fell asleep on the couch, or dragged herself off to bed so she could be rested up for the monotony of the next day.
★ ★ ★
A building with a forgotten purpose stood in the middle of a neighborhood. It was a landmark used in directions. Occasionally, it was the setting for a ghost story. On even rarer occasions, the place was the source of a dream- someday, somebody was going to buy it, fix it up and do something awesome with it. If that didn’t happen, then it would likely be bull-dosed and a cluster of low-income row houses would sprout in its place.
★ ★ ★
She was a straight A student in high school and college. She’d worked her tail off to get her degree, but struggled to find a job doing exactly what she wanted to. Nine months after graduation, with student loans beckoning for repayment, she settled for the job she’d still be working fifteen years later. At first, she continued to look and apply in her free time. Two years of that and beating her head against a wall, the woman decided that she wasn’t supposed to go down that path anymore. She started working harder at her job, vying for promotions and trying to make her office a better place. Eventually, she encountered one of those annoying glass ceilings and stopped trying to do new things. By then, she had a mortgage, a car payment and a couple of credit cards- not to mention the other bills. She stayed and worked, feeling trapped.
★ ★ ★
The building was constructed with a purpose in mind. A man invested money, put plans together, hired employees and bought goods. A decorator was hired, ads were written and placed in local newspapers. Somebody had dreamed it all up. The people involved fought, took pay cuts and struggled to keep this place going. Vision forced them to work hard and make sacrifices, but it wasn’t enough- the business closed. The windows were boarded up and the rest of it fell into disrepair.
★ ★ ★
She’d given up. Job searches over coffee gave way to reruns of Will and Grace punctuated with wine. Deep down, she knew she was a smart person and had the potential to do more, but that only depressed her when she thought about the fruitless fight to find a job that she’d love. She was tired of trying- the woman had been making payments on the hope she’d put on lay away but felt like she’d been throwing effort into a black hole.
She stood there just as empty and broken as an abandoned building, waiting for something to happen- waiting to be redeemed.