Valencia Gardens

By Tom Erikson

I walked into the barren no-man’s land of the project’s courtyards and climbed one of the identical concrete stairwells, heading up to the second floor balcony to find a random subject. The stairwell was trash-strewn and graffiti decorated and I had a rat-in-a-cage feeling that pushed me quickly up to the first landing. The ten crisp ten dollar bills provided by the Examiner burned in my pocket as I imagined how easily they could be forcibly extracted by any enterprising youth. But the drab hallway was deserted and even the large lawns with their sweeping brick and concrete pathways were empty, save for one group of small children who chose to ignore me. Trying to push all my stereotypes and prejudices aside, I chose a doorbell and rang it.