I was on a journey and, as part of it, got off the train in Littleton so I could say I had set foot in Colorado. It was a surreal place, where the sand-colored high-rises were covered with flat, featureless windows like the set of a 1920s expressionist science fiction movie. It was ugly, terrifying, and compelling.
I wanted to get away from the station, but the ground was unstable. In the half-light of pre-dawn, people would take a tentative step forward into invisible holes in the grass. Most navigated these safely, but I was afraid. Others left across a divide in the earth that widened to the east of the station and that was higher on the far side than on the station side. With my purse and shoulder bag, I was afraid to cross it. I began to wonder if I had had a suitcase on the train that had departed. I had to go to the bathroom, but I felt like I might be trapped forever.
The word “navish” or something like it occurred to me as though it were important. For a long time I resisted looking it up; when I did, I discovered that means “military landscaper.” Perhaps I blamed the rent in the earth that frightened me so on a “navish.”