A Lesson in Contradiction


I was walking — as I do almost every day now — on the nature trail along the shoreline. I stopped to take some photographs of the marsh as it changes from its winter wardrobe into spring.

At the bridge, I snapped a few shots of the ever-changing graffiti on the cement walls — the bright colors a dramatic contrast to the lingering grays of April.

It’s just graffiti,” I heard in my head, as I admired the freeform lettering and mix-matched colors.

They shouldn’t do that,” it continued, reminding me of that man a week ago. He was about my age, and he’d stopped to admonish the boys jumping off the old trolley bridge into the water.

You shouldn’t do that,” he called out to them, as if he’d never been 15 on a summer day in April.

There are rules…” he continued, talking out of some pre-constructed grown-up box.

“You shouldn’t…”

“You can’t…”


Later, in my studio, I was working on some writing that had been unattended for a while.

Type. Type. Type. Delete.
Type. Type. Type. Delete.
Type. Type. Type. Delete.

I was self-editing furiously:

“You shouldn’t…”

“You can’t…”


“Just jump!” I wanted to yell. “Just jump!”

©2010, Jennifer Payne

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