Alyssa Morgan

*One Stop Grocery and Rim Shopping *

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  Sitting on a parking curb outside of the Da-Lite Market and Liquor Store I realize that I feel far from home, far from my tiny, organized and artistically limited world.  Here on the South West corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway in a part of the valley that is known as South Phoenix one can see, as I see, a market that is bright white, blue and canary yellow.  Strung along the roof are large multi-colored lights.  Iím talking blue, yellow, green, purple and red lights.  Big bulbs, not the tiny kind people put up at Christmas.  I like lights, I always have.  No rules, freedom of lighting.  No rules, freedom of color.  I wonder to myself what these large vibrant colored bulbs would look like when they are lit up at night.  I bet I will never see the vivacious colors lit above the market at night.  You see, Iím not supposed to stay in South Phoenix, here on the corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway, especially after dark.  Iím not supposed to like it, because here in South Phoenix on the corner of 7th Avenue and Broadway there are many Hispanics, not to mention strings of vivid-colored lights on the Da-Lite Marketís roof.  In contrast, where I live (which is not too far away) there are no multi-colored lights.  There is no majority of multi-colored persons.  No, never these things in my world.  So, you understand, Iím not supposed to stay here long, sitting on this curb, and Iím certainly not supposed to like the multi-colored lights that stay up year-round.
        Next to and connected with the Da-Lite Market is a rim shop.  The bright silver rims can be seen from down the street.  Lined up in rows, behind a cage-like exterior.  No glass windows here.  Cages are not as easily broken into, I think to myself.  Outside the rim shop several Hispanic men are standing in a semi-circle.  At first I think a fight is breaking out, but then I realize that the men are only play fighting.  I wonder why they are not working at 2:30 in the afternoon.  I wonder if they are like the men where I live only twenty miles away.  I think to myself, that my  world seems farther away than that.  I canít understand what the group of men is saying. But if they talk to me, I will say ďNo quiero ser tu noviaĒ, because I am fearful.  Maybe I am fearful of their foreign language.  Perhaps I am fearful of the multi-colored lights.  Perhaps I am fearful because of the honking cars that pass our group.  No, this place is not the same. It is not like the Fryís Market down the street in my neighborhood, where there are no groups of men standing outside and certainly no strands of large, brightly colored lights.
      Before I leave, I see a group of kids get off the school bus and walk towards the crosswalk. They are talking.  They look at me and my group sitting or standing by the Da-Lite Market.  I feel obvious, like I stick out and everyone is judging me.  I feel like I am not wanted here.  I donít like how this feels. I feel like running down the street and screaming, ďI like the lights, Iíve always liked lights, I really like the lightsĒ.  I feel like defending myself.  I feel like I want to be accepted and no longer be an outcast.  But, upon reflection, I have to consider that perhaps it has been South Phoenix which has been outcast and forced to separate from the rest of Phoenix.  Perhaps South Phoenix looks at me standing under the multi-colored lights looking uncomfortable and "it" thinks, you didnít want me to be a part of your world, why should I let you be a part of mine? Well anyway, maybe Iím reading into South Phoenix too deeply, but I really do like those lights. I've always liked lights.

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