Author Archives: David Castro

 There are a few things that I carry with me that always trigger memories of a different time, sometimes thoughts so deep embedded in my subconscious mind that i’m just left with a feeling in my chest, the resonating emotions of a past time. The scent of my mothers perfume, the scent of the janitors bucket in my preschool classroom, or the rings around my grandmothers pale eyes that always used to scare me as a child. These feelings are impossible to shake off, even as I grow older. At first these memories are vivid and clear. I remember every sound, every crack in the concrete, every weed sticking out of the street, the smell of the wet asphalt as a gentle rain sweeps over me. Yet the more I concentrate about the memory, the more it eludes me, until nothing is left but a shadow of who I once was. As I see the sun setting, and its mirthless rays barely make it through to me, I am stuck with another memory of not too long ago, its vivid and clear and its still fresh in my mind.

The suns rays hit my eyes, dodging the giant buildings of the city. It casts an amber shadow on my face and blinds me. Im sitting in the middle of the street looking down at the steep stretch of road ahead. As the sun slowly sets and disappears behind the skyscrapers, a golden red sky takes over. I am surrounded by my best friends, up on the hill. We’re all on our second or third 40, and we laugh at nothing, just at the notion of being drunk at 16, euphoria that only a young mind could achieve, and one that an adult always hopes to find.

Alex is here today, a usual rarity since hes always busy with other more scholarly affairs. A light weight, but you cant blame him; with his thin, lanky frame. He always stands right beside the telephone pole, bottle in hand, waiting for anyone to approach him. I would talk to him, but a drunk talk with him just leads to a gnawing feeling of indifference. His existential views are always so convincing that it seems that my optimism is synonymous with stupidity. He speaks of our insignificance, and how despite our efforts we will always be trapped within these thoughts, slaves to the idea of being more, but just lying short of any possibility. He will stand occasionally chiming in some of his witty commentary.

Alejandro still has the happiness that has since left him. He always the denied the reality of things, the seriousness of everything, because he believed taking things serious was to grow up, and to face reality was dieing. He was the type of guy to sleep through three sections of the SATs because he believed life beyond high school was reality, and he did everything in his power to slow that path to entropy. But now I see him in this memory, a completely careless person. An entity that only lives through the medium of my thoughts. He drinks more than he should, and calls his girlfriend and leaves her voicemails of how much he loves her. He is not as smart as Alex, or maybe just not as pretentious, I don’t know, but its always nice to have a nice balance, between completely serious and jovial innocence.

This is a usual outing. Nothing too special, just something we did because we had the 20 dollars our parents gave us to go the movies. It was then, off to the deli on Fresh Pond avenue where the nice korean lady never gave us any trouble, or asked for I.D. If she wasn’t working that day, we were off to the liquor store on Wycoff avenue, where the elderly indian man never seemed to be living in the the current moment. Worst case scenario, we took turns asking random guys who looked “cool” to get us some beer, or if we were lucky, we’d pay a nice homeless man to do it for us. We grabbed our bottles and tossed them in our book bags, then it was time to go trek that hill, right outside the main street of Fresh Pond.

As we hike the sinuous road to an abandoned street right by the crematorium and the cemetery, evidence of our previous outings is seen all over. Cracked bottles, cigarette butts, beer caps, and dutch master wraps right under the street light. We sat on the cold asphalt, our backs facing the stop sign. We could see all of Ridgewood from this peak, it gave us a clear view of Manhattan, and of the day turning into night.

It started with us three, It would soon expand into groups of ten or even twenty. It gave a certain youthfulness to a place that constantly reminded us of our impermanence. There were times in those late august evenings, where I would feel nostalgic before the moment was over.

As the moon casted a melancholy shadow over the faces on the 20 or so, a deep somber fell over me. I saw the faces of life, that would soon deteriorate as reality would set in. Wrinkles would grow in the creases where we’ve smiled a thousand times, a spirit would soon be encroached by responsibility, and reality.

The night would end. It would six in the morning, and its rays would again reflect back to the same spot. It was time to go home to an angry hispanic mom waiting for me in the living room, with an arsenal of shoes, sandals, and belts. I chew a pack of gum, down a bag of salt and vinegar chips, some beef jerky and some leaves from the trees. I walk in to the CVS and spray myself with some Febreeze and Axe, and leave without paying. Its hard to put the key in the door, and I stumble inside to a beating…oh well, worth it.

The hill on 62nd avenue and 65th Street is now empty, the streets are cleaned but, the weeds still grow from the same cracks, the walls still bear the same graffiti, the crematorium still sets an ominous mood. Its dreary and gray, and smells of urine. It is still the same hill, the same smell, the same sun, but its a different idea, a different entity. Its disgusting, it smells, its dirty. I start to question if this was the same place it was before. My memory is starting to fade, as my new ideas take over. It has been 4 years since those nights here. I concentrate and remember the places where everyone was once sitting, but that is all I have, my memories, and a place rendered meaningless by nothing else but time. Maybe I would soon move somewhere out of this city, to a different country where the sun would set on a different side, and find a new place where the echoes of past youths have come and gone, where time is recycled over and over, until there is none left. Maybe this hill, is just nothing else but a elevated plateau.