Fire escape

It is old. The black paint, once shiny and flawless like poreless skin, has chipped away after years in the blistering sun. Rust spots make the decay that much more obvious: measles on that clear expanse.

Was it ever used? Did it ever help someone reach the ground safely? Or did it serve only as a sneaky deck for smokers, a perch for birds and their shit, a rendezvous point for lusty, twenty-something lovers?

It almost looks quaint now: a lumbering iron relic of a bygone age. It's morphed into the architecture of the place, showing signs of life only in rainstorms when it catches droplets of water before quickly letting them go.

Even then it's just passively alive, bound as if fixed in a straitjacket. Things only happen to it, an irony in a way since it represents freedom.

And what of the similar escapes we forge in our minds and hearts? Do they rust when we become complacent? Do their joints cry out for oil and a good turn after years of waiting patiently for notice and use? 

And is use or abandonment best, keeping in mind what each really means?

*A freewrite from Jena Schwartz's prompt, "Tell me about the fire escape."