Bodie, CA

It’s a ghost town. An abandoned mining town where people come and press their noses against the windows of rotting homes to see what chaos has long been left behind.

I head down to the school-house to see the dusty old desks and the writing on the chalkboard. I walk up to one of the windows, and I straddle the rocks that are stacked right below it. (You’ll see them under most of the windows in the town. They’re for people to stand on should they not be tall enough to see in over the sill.) As I smash my face into the glass to see inside the school, a little girl trots over and stands right in front of me. She balances on the rocks below the window, but even on the tips of her toes she is still too short. I ask her if she wants help seeing in, and without looking at me  she tells me yes. I grab hold under her arms and lift her up. She leans forward and bumps her head into the window pane, forcing her magenta baseball cap to push back and almost fall off.

“What’s that?” she asks, referring to a cracked beige ball on the other side of the window.

“It’s a globe,” I tell her.

She doesn’t know what that is, and when I explain to her that it’s supposed to have a picture of the world on it, she asks what happened to the picture.

“The sun faded it away,” I say.

“Why?”

And I tell her it’s because it stayed in front of the window too long.

“We should move it,” she says.

“Yeah. I don’t think we’re allowed to though,” I say. Pus, I think, that’s what people like about Bodie– they like that it hasn’t moved.

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