The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.


Sometimes, they were abandoned storefronts on the side of the road, in towns that didn’t seem busy enough to support much in the way of commerce.

Sometimes they were kudzu-covered the the point of impenetrability, and sometimes beyond the point of visibility.

Those reminded me of the vine-covered ruins I’d read about or seen television shows about.

Maybe they appealed to the writer in my, but I always had an urge to go inside and look around. Only once did I act upon that urge. In my hometown, Augusta, the old abandoned VA hospital was a not-so-secret place for teenagers to explore, and — however ill-advised it might have been. I ventured there with friends at least once or twice when I was in high school.

I felt almost like some kind of archaeologist, sifting through the ruins of some long-lost culture, wondering why it vanished and what happened to its people.

When I moved to D.C., the city was loaded with abandoned buildings, many of which have been renovated or converted into condos since then. I never went inside any of them, though, because I could never be sure who else might be inside.

What intrigued me about these places was that the appealed to the writer in me. I couldn’t look at them without wondering what stories they held, who had occupied them, and what played out within their walls. And of course I wondered how these places, that had been the settings of so many people’s lives, had come to be abandoned.

After all, someone had built them for some purpose, and some of them. They weren’t intended to be abandoned.

So, what happened? What happened in all those stories I don’t know, and won’t know, because the walls can’t talk?

I still think about that every time I pass by an abandoned building. But as I read the news this weekend, it occurred to me that in some cases, I may know what happened.

We all do.

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