When I would make my biweekly visits to downtown Detroit around the age of eleven, I had nerve damage in my left had from one of many brilliant ideas led by my older brother. The skies were darkened with charcoal gray not only from the unpredictable midwestern weather, but the factory smoke that employed the majority of Detroit and Metro Detroit.
Coming of the cracked, back busting pot holed doom known as I-94, you drive up to Woodward. The houses surrounding, if not abandoned, have junked cars without tires parked into their overgrown grass and windows knocked out. Next door to the house with broken toys that seem to hold equally broken childhood dreams for escaping the neighborhood is a half burned house with the roof caving in. Although foreclosed, the boards to doors and windows are knocked out so homeless and drug addicts may take refuge.
Everything comes to a halt as the streetlights give their angry red command. A homeless man who has some sort of mental affliction that plagues his sanity begins to approach the car, a used 2002 purple PT cruiser, with his cardboard sign that reads “PLEASE HELP HOMELESS VETS”.
Making the turn on the overpass bridge with plastic, red solo cups spelling out a marriage proposal in the fencing between the high above a potential demise. Another few blocks down to Beaubian, and the crushed hope from Woodward seemed to disappear with the medical center that millions of dollars had been poured into. Perhaps the happy appearance outside was to make up for the grief that was seen inside of the walls of hospital rooms.
My mother gave the Cruiser to the vallet men at the DMC Children’s Hospital and walked me to the specialist, where the resident would tell me I would never regain feeling in my left hand and I, too, would be grief stricken like the rest of the city.