What It's Like To Be
What It's Like To Be


Gigger: II, Living the example, the American Dream

3950 LAKE SHORE DRIVE window view at the elevator after dropping a pie delivery.


Gigger: II

Living the example, the American Dream

A navigation of sights, sounds, She, wandered in the streets toward a goal, the local grade school. In the late 1970’s that meant navigating the pavements over the booze drenched streets. The smell of stale cigarettes wafted out of the doors of the sleazy speak-easy and late-night hold overs would crawl out shocked into a sundrenched look that was pale, skinny, empty and dark as the sunglasses that fielded the sun. It looked as if their very skin would shrivel at the exposure and then they were gone leaving only a trail of smoke from their rhinestone set cigarette holder and the brand of cigarette from any man.

It was a difficult route, passing alleys where sexual acts, bodily movements and the party that never ended commenced. The creepy howls of the unwashed from the alley. Cat calls, negative enforcement and finally anger at her attempt to ignore the screeches. She walked firmly navigating to the next block. It was eight blocks, one city mile, seven alleys, and twenty-one bars. The landscape misleading as soon the hustle and bustle of the urban well-to-do’s would also commence. The others walking firmly over the bodies of those that riddled the alleys and some melting into the streets, the lost, the soulless, the wanders without a purpose, understanding or even a definition of such.

She burdened over the landscape, they taunted her. She was different, introverted, quiet, reserved. The manners she was taught escaped their purpose here in a place where the concrete streets merely disguised a different kind of jungle. The prey were those who moved too slowly in an era that existed with the onset of computer technology, financial trading, a growing pharmaceutical market, and a nightlife that escaped the decade of the 1960’s moving in raw form into the age of sheer decadence. Nightlife, parties and never-ending verbal assaults as she navigated the streets to the elementary school where she would feel lost again.

It was destructive, damaging, and it cast a scar upon her quiet introverted introspective soul. Not allowed to merely observe, she was cast into a landscape that was foreign as she and utterly unknown to a culture she had left behind not so very long ago. She is twelve and her boots are a size twelve men’s. The children taunt her. She lives in poverty. The abuse from her own family settles with her today. They would not buy her boots for the cold Chicago winter, 1977. They placed upon her feet the men’s boot once belonging to her inapposite boundary noncompliant stepbrother. She remembered what he said as she wore them in school as the children taunted her for her damaged life. They taunted her for her economic inequality, for her difference, for her culture, even for her golden blonde hair, and as they squealed like pigs in a slaughter, she remembered his words, “want to rap?” a saying in the day for necking, kissing, making out. She did not understand anything any longer. He was an adult.

She arrived at her destination. A building with ghosts that pained her and bled her mind. The corner, familiar, where it began so long ago, now the sight of a pizza restaurant. She picked up another order for delivery. She focused on her mission, not sure exactly what that was, she was certain she had to face the demons. She drove down Lake Shore Drive, trying not to be distracted. A gigger, a pizza delivery driver, ride-share runner single mother of two with three jobs and one mission, to lead by example and provide a better life.

She delivers her last pie, checks out, returns home to the baby-sitter, pay half a salary to childcare to have the privilege to work, worth it in the end, safe they are, fed, secure, warm, she retreats to her computer, another night past midnight, burning the midnight oil, homework for days, living the example, on mission with a goal, one minute at a time.

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Andrea Sturm
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