East is Left, West is Right


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J. Scott Miller is a professor of comparative literature living in the heart of the American West. Professionally, he writes scholarly pieces about arcane subjects, like how Japanese writers adapted  [+]

Image of Short Circuit #05
Near midnight she pedals her rented bike past Checkpoint Charlie. Vacant, but suitably restored, the off-white, utilitarian guard box occupies the middle of the street, protected from a barrage of selfie shots by window-high sandbags. She rides on, under streetlights’ glow, swerving to avoid a lone tourist bus pulling its towering frame away from the curb, the last remaining block of a roadside barricade spontaneously assembled and disassembled each day. Ahead, in the unnatural blue of the bike’s LED headlamp, she spies an unbroken pathway built into the roadside, two cobblestones wide, disappearing into the darkness ahead. Instinctively she guides her bike onto its bumpy, challenging surface, compelled by the prospect of reporting to older family, for whom the phrase might carry some mild payload of humor, that she rode a bike along the top of the Berlin Wall! Neither East nor West, for thirty meters or so she conjures someone else’s divided history. She is only a shadow rider, trying to reconcile an ugly, cloven past with her own country’s current will to wall.

4

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