i had but only a few hours to give you.
you had but oh-so-much to give me.
and even in the dark of night, you delivered a powerful punch.
i must say, i admire your toughness. your grit. the stories seem to pour out of your streets. each passing person has a story to tell. if only we had the time. or the care or courage to ask.
i tried to linger. really, i did. i walked and walked and walked, in a slight rain, until i could walk no more. the darkness tried to take over, but the lights were just too much. so i sat. i sat and i watched the lights dance upon the east river. i stared at your bridges. your buildings. i listened to people as they passed by the bench where i sat, hidden in the dark shadows of your most-famous bridge. of course, there were local accents. new york. new jersey. but there was no lack of distant languages passing right by as well. hints of russian. german. italian. two girls walked hand-in-hand, whispering so low that i couldn’t even catch a hint from where they may have come. and to the left of me, another loner, like myself. standing and staring at manhattan. does he have a dream to get there? or a dream to get out? is he really alone, or just alone in this moment? he’s silent. no smile, but not really a frown, either. leaning on the cable wires behind him, his right leg bent up against them, arms folded across his chest, he stares. that’s what he does. he stares into the night. i wonder, does he wonder who i am as well? does he even notice the people around him? or is this what people do here?
is the city this powerful, that it causes people to stop and just stare?
and that’s when it hit me. in this moment, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of a saturday night, i feel so damn alone. alone surrounded by millions of people. but also, i realize i’m quite at ease with the fact that i am alone. at least in this moment. it’s ok. lady liberty is over my left shoulder and brooklyn’s fantastic bridge is all around me. the chrysler building is shining in the near distance and, even in the rain and slight chill of the night, life is fucking fantastic.
this is new york.
this is what you offer. beauty. history. grittiness. love. passion. sadness. loneliness. laughter.
it seemed unfair to leave you so quickly. there were so many stories to hear, people to watch, photos to capture.
too many bits of cobblestone. everywhere.
soon, perhaps, we’ll meet again.
i’d like that.