Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Rialto

Across from the Hubbard Free Library, the library of my childhood, a churchlike, stained-glassed structure of stone into whose Children’s Room a train derailed long before I ever spun the carousels, stands a large building with no obvious entrance or identifying markers, its windows boarded up, its yellow-shingled façade, an eternal feature of the Second Street of my imagination, closed to the world. Growing up, it was common knowledge that it had once been a movie theater, and that no one had seen inside for decades—this was a sort of linguistic fact in the shared story-map of the city—and I wondered whether the seats might still be there, the screen, the velveteen curtains, the lanterns, and the gently curving banisters of symmetrical staircases that might have led to the balcony and projectionist’s booth, all this preserved under layers of dust and crumbled plaster, a whole secret cinema in the darkness, the receding aisles’ perspectives there but unilluminated behind the walls of an anonymous city block.


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