Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Nostalgia for subway grime

Cut to 2001--I am newly 21. Once confined to my apartment late at night, I see the sidewalk dirt, the old gum, the glimpses of night above, with new eyes and spirit. I float above the ground. Face after face passes by--no daytime wardrobes here. I am one of many; anonymous.

Always a lover of night and always a lover of the city, now I delight as both come together into one thrilling aura.

Free of shopping bags, free of wool suits and pencil skirts, the subway moves with quickening purpose. It dives into the tunnels like a mechanical worm; like everything else, it has come to life, it breathes, it sees. As it rolls out of the tunnel, thumping on the tracks, its eyes flick back and forth. Hop aboard, it says. Get ready for the ride of your life.

As the city laughs, we are among those wide-eyed and ready as we step aboard the great mechanical worm.

The sidewalks breathe, the buildings sigh. The very pores of the concrete whisper. The air is thick with excitement and potential. We are creatures of the night. To look up is to see only inky blackness among the building tops. No stars are visible; they have come down to Earth, we are them.

Like wild animals, we roam the night, roam the gritty sidewalks, ride the great mechanical worm.

I never got to say goodbye; I left when you were asleep--bathed in the glow of sunlight, coffee, tired faces. Some day, I'll say goodbye.

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