The gravel path ended at a curb and Doug stepped down onto the paved road. He hated this part. It was like the walk of shame he’d made girls go through when he’d been young. When he wouldn’t give them cab fare when they left. But their decisions the night before hadn’t ruined them. Yeah, sure, maybe they hated themselves for about a week or maybe two, or maybe the reason they’d came home with him in the first place was because they hated themselves all together–Doug didn’t know then and didn’t know now. But this walk was, he suspected, much, much worse than any walk those girls had done back in their college days–just up the hill. Because the new apartment buildings were flawless. Their brick and mortar walls and perfectly cleaned glass windows that lead onto the lobbies and the metal cones that stood in front of the little stip on each side making sure no cars could drive through all spoke of money, which was power, which Doug had none of.
He adjusted the garbage bag of clothes on his back and looked up at the stacked buildings. One on each side, long, thin. The apartments on the ground floor had long green doors and the shades of each were pulled denying Doug even the chance to imagine what those lives might be like. He cast his head down at his feet. Someone was walking toward him. Being pathetic was the best way to not be noticed or harassed. His eye caught something green on his right. The small patch of grass in front of a window–but it wasn’t quite right. There was something weird about it. Something about the—. He reached down to feel it. The person walking toward him stopped. He could feel it. He couldn’t hear them walking, and he thought they hadn’t gone inside. His hands tried to dig into the grass but couldn’t. The ground was too hard. The grass wasn’t grass, it was turf that reflected the light like grass didn’t. So that was what they had come to? A petroleum product that was suppose to trick our senses into seeing grass where there was none.
“Yeah,” said a voice. “It’s fake.”
Doug straightened, but not too much. He didn’t want to look too proud.
“That’s why you touched it, right?” It was a girls voice, he thought now. But it was hard to tell, as he turned around.
“I mean, yeah,” he said, and the words felt thick in his mouth. He hadn’t spoken to anymore for more than a day. The woman standing in front of him wasn’t much of one. Or he didn’t know if she was a she, or a he. Kids were doing that a lot these days. Her (he suspected) voice was just low enough to be confusing to Doug. Her jaw just wide enough.
“It’s weird isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yeah,” said Doug, not meeting her eyes.
“I’ve seen you around.”
“I gotta go,” said Doug.
“K,” she said.
Doug turned away, he wasn’t sure about that grass but he was even less sure about that young woman/man. Was she in her twenties or thirties. Doug couldn’t tell anymore. He was all fucked up. Doug had done this to himself and loved every moment of it. He was just all fucked up.
Behind Doug the young woman stepped over the fake grass and up to the long green door and she must have had a key because when Doug looked over his shoulder the door was shutting. Locking him out.