#729: Empty World

December 23rd, 2016

I think I like the business district best when I’m alone.

It’s not alone-alone, of course. It’s city-alone, where solitude means hundreds instead of thousands milling, bustling, shoving, pushing, dawdling, daydreaming denizens crowding the walks and roads.

The day before Christmas weekend is city-alone.

I won’t say the locals don’t stride head down to well-trod offices. Or that earlier workers don’t laugh and push each other behind the counter while waiting for customers. Or that Tonya on the State Street Bridge doesn’t give her cup of change a triple shake on the seventh beat like always.

But it’s less and fewer today. The city is dimmed as a matter of number and volume.

I’m alone.

The plaza with the statues of businessmen with umbrellas is nearly empty, only one or two office workers skittering past and two men with 20-foot squeegees working the Miesian glass.

The bridge is relatively clear, no more than 10 people on my side of it.

And the beautiful muck river that breathes freedom to me because of stories you don’t get to hear is crisp and still.

Only seventy or eighty cars fill Wacker.

It’s the end of what’s been a terrible year for life but a wonderful one for me personally. It’s at the end of another swirl around the sun where we think we’re in the same place we were before.

But we’re not. We’ve spun around the sun, but the spiral arm of the Milky Way keeps taking us where we’ve never been.

I’m in some shoes on a street in a town in a township in a county in a state in a country on a continent in a hemisphere on a bitter, broken and heartbreakingly lovely planet in a solar system in a galaxy in a cluster in a universe that will never dumb itself down enough to be something we understand or want.

And I love it all, stars in the sky and a random Stella Artois bottle cap by a bus stop. It hurts how much I want this place to do better than it does.

I think I like the business district best when I’m alone.

Even if it’s just city-alone.

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