Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"Never Special," City Music, 348 words

I hate living in the city, actually. Grey is nicer than a lot of other cities, especially the dingy gray ones that predominate the Eastern Seaboard, but I still hate it. Cities make me uncomfortable, the sheer density of people. I find I'm especially nervous during storms, far more so than when I lived out in a small town while in high school. I think it's some instinctive fear that, with all these people packed in together, a natural disaster has the potential to cause a lot more suffering and death than if it struck out in the countryside. Most days, the only thing keeping me here is my tight bank account and my lack of prospects elsewhere.

In other words, nowhere else is any better for me.

Still, sometimes... Sometimes living in a city has its moments. Sometimes, the low roar of traffic suddenly dies down, a minor street vacated, and I can hear the music.

Now, it's not like I've become some kind of neo-hippie mystic who thinks cities have a pulse and soul, a song they sing to each other across the highways and power lines. I wouldn't deny that Grey City might, but I don't actively believe it, either. I mean the music of the people who live here, because we all seem to be playing music of some kind now.

A small band, in some apartment above a store, their drummer crashing out a beat and the guitarist strumming along, while the singer lets loose with a wordless call, instruments and voice following their own paths but complementing each other smoothly.

Two college kids, a boy and girl, sitting at an intersection in the dead of night and singing "American Pie" to each other, neither a very good singer on their own but their voices wending together into something sweet and beautiful. Young love, for everyone to hear. I hope they stay in love forever.

A guy standing in a park by the river, late at night, playing a saxophone for nobody in particular.

Some days, I never want to leave the city.

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