September 6, 2011

Those Summer Nights...

I had to bite my lip to keep the tears from falling as I watched the skyline disappear over my shoulder. The sky darkens and then lets go what I held back.  I feel every mile south tonight.

I walked through the city with a meander stronger than usual and found myself standing in Times Square among the tourists. Is this the New York I know? No. I know the smell of garbage on hot July nights and the wind rushing in the open cab window as we ride far, far uptown. I know bedrooms with four walls so close together I could rifle through the shirt drawer without rolling over more than once. I know how hard it is to find a bottle of water at 5am when the heat rises from the pavement and descends from above. I know the cracks in the sidewalks and the feel of certain buildings when I run my fingers across the corners.

But I always leave when it's time.  When it's time to put on the day's coffee and iron the shirts, I'm weaving through Grand Central, tripping on tourists and hoping for time to grab to-go coffee before the train departs. I don't receive the afternoon phone calls at the office to make dinner plans or ask to pick up the dry cleaning on the way home from work. I don't know where to find the reddest radishes or where to buy toilet paper in bulk. The everyday, the mid-afternoon view from the 23rd floor, the plans for next month, next year... I disappear.

I have only the pre-dawn heat, simmering under dark skies.

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