The Third Largest City


Buildings twinkling in the darkened evening.

Life twinkling all around me.

Small town girl in big city.

Not a new story at all.

Except to me.

I found fascination as I stood on the side walk.  Looking up at the sky scrapers.  In one window, probably less than 15 stories from the ground, stood a woman.  All I could see was the silhouette.  Evening was here.  She was backlit.  I could see she had on a dress, it went mid calf.  And she was ironing.  She had to have had an amazing view of a bustling city, and she was ironing.  Maybe that’s why she chose to iron there, to enjoy the view.  To feel comfortable where she was as the energy of the city played out below her feet.  Maybe she was ironing something to wear, and was going to join us down below.  Maybe she was glad to be home and doing the ironing.  Maybe.  Maybe.  Maybe.  So many maybe’s.

Another sky scraper.  Another window.  I couldn’t help but look up.  I wasn’t being nosy.  But I sure was curious about those lives.  There, in that window, stood a man with his hands on his hips.    Just staring.   Again, a silhouette, his small movements told me he was real.  I wonder if he was wondering about the people below as at least one of the people below was wondering about him up there.

The pharmacy on the corner had food, they were selling sushi.

There was an angry man who was yelling at people for not giving him money.

Someone else asking for money stepped back, as if they didn’t want to be associated with that man.

One man was playing buckets and cymbals.  I wished I had some cash to give him.  I liked the sound.

A horrible smell wafted over everyone but no one seemed to pay attention.  Then a fabulous smell wafted over us and still no one seemed to notice.

Christmas in store windows and it’s not even Thanksgiving.

Theaters with shows that employ hundreds and draw in thousands.

Cars not stopping at red lights or letting emergency vehicles pass.

People speaking to one another and holding open doors.

Eye contact with strangers, no eye contact with strangers.

Looking in bakery windows.  The girl looked tired.  That looks like a lot of bread to bake.

Man sleeping on the sidewalk.  Across from him, another human being sleeping on the sidewalk, but the blanket was pulled up over his/her head.  It didn’t matter, man or woman, human.  So very human.

Signs saying “I’m just hungry”.

Poverty at the base of buildings that hold opulence and plenty.

Pleasant people.  Hurried people.  Celebrating people.

I smiled to myself, and to my friend, don’t tell me we are not diverse here.  I heard at least 15 different languages being spoken as we walked, ate, walked, explored, walked, went up a river and down a river.  In the first two hours of being here.  Different languages.  Different colors.  Different sexual orientations.  And we all just melded together.  No one seemed to care.

One man asked for money for a bus ticket home for he and his wife.  I don’t have cash.  I apologize.  He says it’s okay and wishes us a nice evening.   I don’t know his story.   He doesn’t know mine.  But now we have that moment chronicled in time.

Buildings with glass.  Buildings with history.   Buildings with stories we will never know.

People behind glass.  People with history.  People with stories we will never know.

So much.

So many.

Big city.