Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I could have sworn I updated last week.

I'd write about things no one reads but I'm far too tired. Here's some prose I wrote yesterday instead.
In a city that never supposedly sleeps, I hear it snore peacefully at the end of my closing shift as I’m walking to the subway at four o’clock in the morning in Times Square.

I’m not alone – I pass couples and several, small packs of men either walking home from a late night or still searching for drinking hub. Every night I notice I am the only woman walking alone.

I wade through a herd of still yellow taxis, parked unabashedly on sidewalks and in streets waiting for the sun to rise and the tourists to pool in. It’s so strange to see so many parked not in traffic, but by a gas station or having their front wheels rested on a small driveway. All of them are empty, but undoubtedly filled with the bacteria and memories of the more unusual customers who rode in them.

I know I’m getting closer to the ACE, because I’m passing a string of restaurants, then the strip of residential living, and when I see the lights of Broadway theaters, I know I made it safely one third of my trip home.

A garbage truck will always drive by at some point. They pick up the trash off of the already dirty streets of this gritty city and drive away, the late-night heroes of waste-control.

The subway is quiet. No one is threatening at four o’clock in the morning. I sit and sweat and wish I was already home. I hear the rumbling of trains but it’s almost never the train I need.

The next A train is now arriving on the Downtown/Brooklyn track.

The last car of the A train. It’s me and an old man sleeping. He snores as he takes up half of a long bench. I think about how my mother worries so much. I stare at him. I could take him in a fight.

Too many stops later, I wait for the G train.

The next G train is never going to come. Give up hope now.

There is always a handful of people sitting, sweating, and waiting for that damn train. Why aren’t they in bed? They can’t all work in clubs.

I hear the G train arrive and suddenly I’m at my stop. How did I get here?

The only thing heavier than my eyelids is my head. I let it rest listlessly backwards so that I can glance up at the peeling, chipped paint that scatters like dandruff from the ceiling of the subway station. I wonder why my sister never visits me in Brooklyn.

There are some people in the street at four o’clock in the morning (it is four thirty by now). I get fewer cat calls at night than I do during the day. I know why – I look like hell after a day of work and subway sweating. What’s to call out?

And while I walk the streets of Brooklyn at this God-forsaken hour of the day, I hear something that makes it the second excuse to why I put up with closing shifts (other than my paycheck). I hear birds. How often are birds heard in the city? This is the only time of day in these concrete and brick ruins that the birds have the air to themselves to sing and practice their harmonies. I won’t hear them again until next closing shift.

After I drift up the last street, into the building and up the elevator, I collapse on my air mattress and suddenly, the city’s snoring becomes silent.

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