2700 Town Center Boulevard
Sugar Land, TX 77479
November 2010 – The engine of my charcoal gray mustang rattles and roars as I slowly wind my way up to the roof of the seven-story parking garage. My heart slams against my ribcage as if it is trying to escape from my chest. My thoughts no longer come out smooth and consistent like a water fountain, instead they are few and come out in chunks like an ice dispenser. I accelerate over a final ramp that leads me out onto the final story of the building and quickly pull into the parking spot with the number twenty-eight spray painted in large bold text. With shaky hands, I turn they keys in the ignition and kill the engine. Eagerness overcomes me as I leap out of my seat to embrace the cool night air. From the second it reaches my eyes, the magnificent view draws a sigh of relief from my lips.
To the far left is a bird’s eye view of Highway 6 and the speedy parade of misfit cars that it entails. The picturesque scene of a small array of shops to my immediate right is blocked entirely by City Hall, lit up in all its splendor, with the words City of Sugar Land glowing even in the dead of night. All of the stores and shops across the boulevard are slowly emptying as closing time draws nearer. The lights in Party City and DSW are already turned off but a few customers linger inside of Marshall’s and Sabai Thai Café. Looking into the distance, I can see the bright cityscape laid out before me like an offering before a queen. In my mind, I am capable of simply reaching out and holding the world with my own two hands. Everything in sight is at peace, and finally so am I.
I fish a cigarette out of a crumpled box in my back pocket and light it; leaning my forearms against the concrete barrier that wraps around the roof. I take a long drag and hang my head. Nicotine surges into my bloodstream and my tense muscles begin to relax. From my perch, I am able to look into this world as a quiet observer, without any need to interact or entertain. I am just a pair of eyes and soft breathing in the night. I stroll to the other side of the empty lot and look down at the square.
An elderly African-American man takes his post at the steps of city hall and plays a mellow tune on his jazz saxophone, being observed wordlessly by a young couple greedily munching on ice cream from Ben & Jerry’s. Behind them, children of all ages are playing, shrieking, and laughing as the splash in the fountain. Meanwhile, watchful mothers are looking on from The Vineyard, sipping on goblets of wine and chatting calmly. Across the street, is an elderly couple sitting in front of Starbucks, holding hands and sipping on paper cups as cars pass by. A few policemen stand scattered about, watching over the citizens in the same manner as a collie guarding its herd of sheep from wolves.
Standing upright in the center of the fountain is a large metallic statue of a man on horseback, rearing high on its hind legs with a terrified look in its unchanging eyes. Stephen F. Austin by Bob Pack, proclaims the bronze plaque on the edge of the fountain, right beneath the word “faith,” etched in the stone. Around the outside of the fountain, engraved in stone, is the written history of Sugar Land back to the early seventeenth century, though no one ever seems to pay much mind as they trample across it from store to store.
The wind picks up and the aromas from a dozen different cuisines waft into my nostrils. Every nation from India to the Americas are represented in this place by a particular restaurant. Every budget and taste bud can find what they require whether it includes Japiniero’s Japanese-Cuban hybrid cuisine, Amici’s elegant Italian dining, or just a tasty American sandwich at Jimmy John’s. Around the corner is a sports bar known as Loggia containing oversized flat screen televisions mounted on the wall, with young girls strutting around in umpiring uniforms, and infamous beer towers on every table. The delicate balance of every culture makes Town Center a place of common interest for every citizen within ten miles, whether to wine, dine, or simply to socialize. I think about all the fun times my family has had drinking frozen margaritas at Escalante’s and laugh softly to myself.
To this day, the thing I love the most about my concrete palace is the fact that I have never been encountered another person, with the exception of a wandering security guard. In a world crawling with people, it is wonderful to think that there are still such surprisingly beautiful places that are uninhabited by ordinary people.
Town Square has been and will continue to be a place of commerce for the people of Sugar Land. Its central location near highway six as well as highway fifty-nine makes it ideal for people to bring guests to show them the city in its entire splendor. There is virtually no crime or discrimination between people of different races and cultures. Sugar Land’s Town Center gives the common observer hope that maybe there are more places in the world with such high regard for all people, where they can all come together and be at peace.
View Larger Map
Taylor Fry is a full-time student at the University of Houston-Downtown. She plans to major in biology and become a chiropractor. She was born in Houston, Texas in 1991 but grew up on a ranch in Roswell, New Mexico. Eventually, she moved to Sugar Land, Texas to live with her father, her stepmother, and her two siblings. Taylor played softball all four years of high school, while working at Ben & Jerry’s in Sugar Land Town Square where she fell in love with the city she lives in. Recently, she has begun a new career working as a server at Kona Grill, just across the street from her first job.
Taylor Fry strives to live in the moment, and enjoy each one as they are given to her. She spends her free time getting into trouble in the pursuit of happiness. She plans on living out her days as a walking oxymoron with a PhD.