You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
By: Darien Baker
Which brings me upon my arrival to the two-face town. Who would have thought this place would leave a mark on me that I will always remember? I am not wounded from my journey. Coming to the town, it had me deceived at first, but during my deceit I had the most amazing time. The two-faced town, as crazy as it seems, made me feel alive, but then it slowly crept up on me like a dark cloud. Then it rained.
I arrived to the town at night. The two-faced town is historic on its own, and is the capitol of Maryland-Annapolis. I was there at night, with the moon shining down on all the people who were out. With all the laughter and shouting, you would have thought the moon turned us all into some sort of creatures, or maybe it was all the alcohol that was being consumed. The night was perfect. The water even glistened as the moon was shining on it. The moon was all our friends that night. We didn’t want the moon to go away. As I was gazing at the people, they were all beautiful. Everyone was talking to each other. It was a very diverse group of people. I couldn’t get past that the streets we were walking on, back then in the eighteenth century, not many of us would be walking as freely like as we were tonight. But, I put that behind me. I kept on walking still amazed by my friend the moon, making sure that it was still present.
I saw a woman walking towards me. I didn’t have my glasses on. I’m nearly blind without my glasses. So I am quite puzzled wondering do I know this woman, because she was approaching me so fast. You would have thought she was coming up to me to start a commotion or a fight. I braced myself, but as she got closer to me, I realized she was wearing a wedding dress. I rubbed my eyes to make sure that I was seeing this correctly, but, yes, this woman was wearing a wedding dress, and she wasn’t approaching me. She was coming to look at the water. She reminded me of a beautiful swan. Her white dress was fluffy, with sparkles all over it. She was tall. That’s why she reminded me of a swan. Also, I didn’t know if she was cold but she looked very pale. Then came a man. Her husband, I assumed. The groom came up behind her and placed his black jacket over her shoulder. His skin wasn’t pale, but his face seemed to light up when he saw her. Their apparent love for one another warmed me, as I watched them interact, where I was sitting wasn’t that cold as it was, looking at them just made me feel warm, as if I were watching some cheesy romantic movie, right in front of my eyes. But that feeling went away because they walked away, and I was just sitting there alone.
I walked away as well. I went to the bar called Armadillos. The bar was warm. A lot of people were on the dance floor, dancing and drinking. I looked out the window and I could still see the moon. Of course, people were still having a good time. As I walked closer and closer near the bathroom there was a girl who ran past me. It was so quick you would have thought a tornado went by, because this girl dropped her drink as soon as the girl ran past all of us. I walked into the bathroom, the girl was just looking in the mirror. Lifeless, I could see that she was breathing but it was like she wasn’t in her body. She was possessed. Her friend walked near her and put a cold brown ripped paper towel on her sweaty forehead and started talking to her. “Breathe just breathe girl. Jesus Christ, how much did you drink?”. The lifeless girl, that’s the name I gave her. She opened her stained red lipstick mouth to speak. But, it didn’t even sound like she was speaking English. Her eyes rolled to the back of her head. I was just trying to wash my hands and still observe but clearly she might have had too much to drink. Then another one of her friends walked in, yelling, “What the heck is going on?”. I was shocked as well. I just looked in the mirror and started playing around with my hair. The usual thing a girl would do while she’s in the bathroom at a bar, trying to look presentable, I sweated so much that it felt like my makeup was melting off my face.
Then another friend of the lifeless girl barged into the bathroom. She put her hand on the girl’s forehead and starts to whisper in her ear. I didn’t know what she was saying, but the lifeless girl wasn’t as lifeless anymore. She rose with her big brown eyes. She was still sweating too. Then it she threw up all over the sink. I was thinking to myself that her friend just performed and exorcism on her. It’s like all the things that made her seem lifeless just came all out. Right after that the lifeless girl was more alive than ever. She got up and danced the night away.
I got up and left that bar, looked up at the sky, and my friend the moon was still there. I felt the cold air blow across my hair. I had a feeling my nose would start to turn red. It was chilly outside. As I was out walking I came across this pizza place called Charlie’s Bar at Mangias. I instantly smelled the pepperoni, cheese, and sausage from a mile away. I was quite hungry myself with all the bar hopping and walking around. Everyone seems to go there as the night slowly comes to an end. The line at the pizza place was so long, so long that when people would got to the front the guy would say, “Cash only, no credit cards.” You would think there would be a sign saying that instead of waiting until people got to the front. People were furious; the ATM they had in there looked like a busted big computer, but it worked.
I finally got my pizza. It was huge, like one slice of it could feed myself and two other people. The cheese was gooey, and hot! The sauce tasted like I was actually eating lasagna and not a pizza. It was gone. I certainly was not walking back to that long line of people waiting for another slice. Either way the thing was so greasy, and I still was going to walk around. I don’t need to catch a cold while I’m walking the streets, the streets that George Washington or whatever political figure of the eighteenth century has walked since Annapolis was the United States capitol many years ago.
So much history happened here. Let me say now that I am not a big historian, but it’s amazing to think years ago my ancestors probably weren’t even allowed to walk on these streets as freely as I am, and certainly not eating a pizza while looking at the moon enjoying the night life of the two-faced town.
The two-faced town deceived me. Not everything that happens in the nightlife carries over in the daytime. The town has a split personality. It had two faces, yet it’s just a one town. As the moon went down so did the creatures of the night. The laughter, the shouting, the random people coming up to you saying you look great. It all goes away as my dear friend the moon isn’t present anymore. As diverse as the night was, it seemed like when the moon went away and the sun had risen the two-faced town became real. With my very own eyes I saw the transition. The diverse crowd wasn’t as diverse as it seemed. The town turned grey. The people seemed all the same who were walking with their families. Nobody communicated outside of their bubbles. I was just sitting there not grey. I felt like a red dot and everybody noticed that I didn’t belong there. What happened, why did the town turn on me?
The night before, the moon was our friend. Everybody was friends. It was easier to talk to somebody that didn’t look like you. It was easier to feel like you belonged somewhere. Downtown Annapolis, was the place to be last night. But as soon as the sun came up it was like I was awake, the creatures from last night weren’t around. It was a whole new breed of people. A breed of people that were only focused on themselves. A breed of people that if I smiled nobody smiled back. This two-faced town wasn’t coming alive as soon as the sun hit. I wanted the moon to come back and change the mood. Make people come out of their shells, make people immerse themselves with other people.
The night before, the moon was our friend. Everybody was friends. It was easier to talk to somebody that didn’t look like you. It was easier to feel like you belonged somewhere. Downtown Annapolis was the place to be last night. But as soon as the sun came up it was like I was awake, and the creatures from last night weren’t around. It was a whole new breed of people. A breed of people that were only focused on themselves. A breed of people that if I smiled nobody smiled back. This two-faced town wasn’t coming alive as soon as the sun hit. I wanted the moon to come back and change the mood. Make people come out of their shells, make people immerse themselves with other people.
I stuck out like a sore thumb. Everybody was just walking and talking with who they came with. I was just observing and looking. I wasn’t used to this. I felt like an outcast. But then I came across a store. It was an art gallery called McBride Gallery. Everything around me that was grey didn’t seem so grey when I walked into that door. A burst of color hit my face. The place seemed warm and refreshing. The lady smiled at me; maybe she saw how the two-faced town deceived me and stabbed me in the back with all the changes and all the different people. Maybe she is different, maybe she is like the rest. A victim of the two-faced town, right along with me.
However, this lady was not grey at all. She had life, she had color running all through her veins. She was a painter, she doesn’t own the art gallery, but the woman who does has art come from all over. I walked around. The paintings brought more life to me. I would have never thought that there was something in this little art gallery that was going to stick with me. I just closed my eyes and listened to the music that was playing, thinking about the night before and how I felt a part of something. I belonged in that art gallery. The two-faced town didn’t suck the life and betray this gallery. This gallery was the same from outside and inside. It stayed true to itself. The lady suggested I walk next door to this jewelry store named Lilac Bijoux that was owned by a woman.
The amazing jewelry store left me speechless. The jewelry was all handmade from this woman. She felt at one with her art, and she made her own jewelry. She found healing with this. The way she talked to me was like I’d known her for quite some time. I didn’t feel misplaced here. I felt like I mattered here. I wasn’t the outcast that was out on the streets of the two-faced town. She talked and engaged with me. I loved that. I felt moved by how friendly and inviting she was. She asked so many questions about me. I would forget that I’m supposed to be asking her questions.
The two-faced town was still deceitful to me. How could a place make you feel welcomed at night but not during the day? This town had major split. If my skin was painted white and if I had blonde hair, I would have fit in a little better. I wouldn’t have gotten awkward stares. Or a sense of what are you doing here? How could the night before I didn’t have to worry about how people saw me? I just fit in. I didn’t worry about if this person was going to be friendly to me. I didn’t have to worry about anything. I enjoyed my time when the moon was out and the creatures of the night were having fun. I was one of the creatures of the night. I danced, I sang, I fell in love. I fell in love with people. I fell in love with the feeling of belonging. I felt in love with that couple at the water. At night, I came alive, I felt something. I went on this journey not knowing what to expect. But what I found out was that, all because one experience was great and the other was just flat out terrible. It wasn’t going to change my outlook on people.
But it made me leave with wanting to show love to everybody, make people feel included and not divided. It shouldn’t matter what’s on the outside of what people see. But what should matter is about what that person brings. I don’t know whether it was because it was more of my age group at night than it was during the day.
You’ll get mixed up,
of course, as you already know.
You’ll get mixed up with
many strange birds as you go.
So be sure when you step.
Step with care and great
tact and remember that
Life’s A Great Balancing Act.
The two-faced town, needs to be two faced, it needs to have a split. It needs the hot and cold effect. Or it will it will only draw in the same people each time repeatedly. With the two-faced town being so historic, it needs new history and memories from it each time. Not the same old things happening repeatedly, the two-faced town at night will make you feel as alive as you want to be. You can be careless and nobody will look at you like you are different. You will belong, you will be embraced with the creatures of the night and be followed by the moon with every step you take. During the day, it’s a little grey and gloomy, but go find something that will shine light to you and that has vibrant color. Something that is different and unique, something that will affect you. A takeaway would be don’t let the two-faced town throw you off where you feel the need to leave. Stay and embrace it, maybe even change it.
The use of traveling is to regulate imagination with reality, and instead of thinking of how things may be, see them as they are.”
– Samuel Johnson