An exercise in rhetoric inspired by the writings of Matt “Maine” Hall. His recent facebook descriptions of late night ramblings from the ghetto of our home in Landover has inspired me to try my hand. Here is a late night rambling from a memorial weekend spent in the back of Truck 17.
Our chariot comes to a stop just shy of the entrance to the apartment complex, the heroes of “The Heights” answer the never ending call for service, this time its the ever elusive activated CO detector. I watch as my crew makes their way up the hill towards the mountain of brick and mortar known as Benning Park Apartments. Heavy eyelids give way to an unrelenting stare as i catch myself gazing longingly through the dust covered window of my tillermans perch. The iridescent hue of a lone streetlight joins with the familiar reds and blues of a passing police cruiser, together they bring identity to the darken street sign. 4900 G st. SE. My temporary inhabitancy now has a name.
The air is cool and crisp as it recoils from the recently passed storm. The night is alive with activity, people pass but seldom wave, families and felons share the sidewalk together as they stroll into the emptiness of the East End night. My thoughts drift away from this place much the same as the dreams of the areas youth, away to a place far removed from the brutal realities of “The Heights”. Thoughts of a future with manageable hours, of nights with adequate sleep, of holidays at home with family and friends. The recurring thud of a car stereo gains strength as it closes on my position, the roar of exhaust from a passing donked-out caprice jerks me back to my observatory high atop 17 truck.
My attention shifts to a conveniently placed pair of “Air Jordans” dangling from the electric line above my head, swaying gingerly in the evening breeze, beckoning to this spot those in search of a quick high to lift them from this place. My band of brothers makes their way back down the hill from the building entrance, laughing and jostling, bonded together by the experiences and the tragedies they’ve shared, forged into friends at trail by fire. They know how quickly the song can change, how that next call for service might find them staring the red devil and his fiery minions square in the face, daring my brothers to enter in protection of these same families and felons that call East End their home. This fire forcing them to rise up to their best when DC citizens are at their worst. These men, these firemen, know that only the bond of brotherhood will bring them through the flames and back alive.
I chuckle to myself as a new thought creeps into mind. These moments i will miss, this ghetto i will miss, these brothers I will miss…