Kim walked down the dark, deserted street. At 10 pm. the sidewalks had rolled up in this little mountain town, except for a couple of bars. Technically they were restaurants. In this state, you could not just sell alcohol. You had to sell food to be acceptable. Nobody took particular notice of her. Why should they? She was just another college dropout from the neighboring town. They all ended up here for a short time.
Kim checked the bitter attitude. After all, the town had given her a part-time job at the tourist information center. The woman with the room for lease agreed to let her work around the house instead of paying rent. Most local folks had been amicable and helpful. Nobody around here had that much, but they helped each other out.
What had she missed about life and people? Just one town over everyone seemed so self-absorbed. Professors walked around like royalty. They would look down their noses at the people who had lived there their entire lives. The local people appreciated the business the college brought, but not the arrogance. The little town had become segregated by attitude. You had the college hangouts for students and faculty. Then you had the places you did not bother to go because nobody wanted you there.
The classes she took talked a lot about how evil people could be. How selfish and oppressive this world was. Life around campus had many examples. For instance, her best friend’s roommate slept with a professor just to get an ‘A.’ She had no concerns for his wife and children, nor the fact he was sleeping with other students. Her only concern was keeping her GPA intact for the career she was pursuing. Kim had grown tired of the endless selfishness and walked away. Why try anymore when everyone is out for themselves? Why struggle when people would gladly destroy your world for their own?
Ten short miles away she found an entirely new world. It was a new universe. People here welcomed the tourists and even the college dropouts that meandered through as they tried to figure out the meaning of life. Fashionable cars driven by fashionable people would park next to old rusty pickup trucks. Vehicles that coughed and smoked would start up next to high dollar imports. Nobody minded. The fashionable people loved the mountains and this little town. They loved the kind people. Perhaps they tired of that other world too. The harsh world filled with predators and victims. They needed real people. A real town. Real kindness.
Kim leaned against a light pole and looked towards the local bar and restaurant. Patrons filled the patio on this late summer night. The owner, Patricia, walked back from a table and spied her. She smiled and waved. Kim returned her wave, a warm, friendly feeling covered her heart. She did not know where she wanted to end up, but for now, she would stay in this paradise.