Monday, July 20, 2009

summer city breeze

i turned off the air conditioning and opened the window overlooking my desk. now a summer breeze is blowing in softly, and i hear

the soft rush of cars pulling up, stopping, moving on. beautiful, gentle city noises. like the hum of a fan or flourescent ceiling bulb. i

remember when we first moved to richmond, that very first night that we laid in our bed on patterson, and we listened to the noises all

around us. it felt so loud, with the bus pulling up and announcing its stop, with the occassional car honk in the distance, or drunk

patrons walking by from the corner bar. the sound of neighbors beneath us, beside us. we had gotten used to our own house. a yard

with a grassy buffer. a small southern town without cars whizzing by. greenery. even though it was small, richmond was city. and so

too is this.

i've gotten used to the noise. it is a different kind of breeze, a different kind of calm. it's the peaceful nights of my childhood stays at

my grandparents' apartment in Mclean, when i would lean on their balcony railing and stare at the tall buildings lit up in the

distance. they were only office buildings, part of the Tyson's Corner suburbs, hardly urban. but they were romantic, and their

shinning distances told stories of adventure and thriving life. somewhere, just off on the horizon, the world was alive, thriving and

awake even at 11 o'clock on a summer night. as a child, i dreamed of that elusive place. i couldn't wait to see it, but i was contented,

safe, cozy in knowing it was just out there, just over the edge of the balcony, just up the road, only a few years away. i settled into my

grandma's soft couch, turned off all the lights, and switched on the eleven o'clock news to turn the whole room a deep blue. i watched it

for the stories, and for the routine, the familiar faces and voices. and what i remember most was the city scape behind the weatherman's

forecast, with all those happy smiling suns or cheerful clouds. the monument, or the white house, or the capitol. but always, the city,

my ever present, strong and silent companion.

being here in the big city on a night like this, alone with my thoughts, with the summer air blowing and shaking the little green plant

on my desktop, i feel comforted. its nights like this i wish i had a t.v. in my room, so i could turn out all the lights, paint the walls a

glowing blue and be soothed to sleep by the jovial chatter of a couple of anchors with pearly white teeth and perfect hair.

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