Place Where You Live:

Gates, New York

Four lanes of traffic here define Howard Road: the busy street that forms the eastern boarder of my neighborhood; the cracked and weathered pavement that my sister and I would walk during the summers on quests for ice cream or some other refreshing treat from the grocery store. Here it meets its northern end, glaring upon the flowered median and four lanes that sit across from it.
Fox Run: a short swath of pavement that serves as a gateway to incorporated chains. Friendly’s, The Dollar Tree, pizza places, banks are all present here… Buildings and faceless people, among them numerous empty cement boxes that have been abandoned, left to gather dust.
Five lanes of traffic on the east side of State Highway 31, 6 lanes on the west: a street that at one point is simultaneously known as Lyell Avenue and Spencerport Road. This is the road we followed all the way to Buffalo when my sister headed off to college; the road on which my best friend swerved to avoid a deer and somehow survived the tumultuous ride over the roof of a stranger’s house.
Two lanes of traffic on Lyell Road, a street parallel to route 31 that here meets its eastern end. Together, these 21 lanes compose a single nightmare of an intersection, pieced together with a variety of street lights, warning signs, and a single stop sign. How many times have sirens graced this intersection? This enclosure that saw my sister’s only car accident is home to many ghosts.
And not far away, enclosed by Howard and Lyell Road, is the house in which my sister and I once helped our mom sponge-paint our bedroom walls. This is my home. From the planes flying low over my house, to the expressway sprouted indelicately beside my backyard. Gates, New York, the town that birthed the city of Rochester; a town built on industry; a town composed primarily by Rochester Tech park, a deserted puzzle of buildings; a cement jungle; a despairingly gray playground.