Monday, November 26, 2012

The City

You say you hate the city.
Watch as they climb the subway steps. Do you hear that kid with the accent? Two years ago he spoke no English. He is fighting all usual battles in school, but doing it in a foreign tongue. See that girl, with the piercings? She is desperate to somehow find something deeper and more real than the grey world she sees around her. Look at that guy with a basketball.  Every day he practices for twelve hours and every night he prays for something that will never happen because he is just two inches too short. That one in the suit? He dreams of visiting Peru. The homeless man-- he touched something once, something transcendent, something wonderful, and he keeps going back to the same place to try to get it back, and it keeps getting farther away. Do you see that girl in the sports jacket? She has an entire world in her head. Every one of these people has an entire secret world.  Any of them, if you had lived next door to them at the right time, would have been your best friend. Every one of them is proud, shy, angry, good, tired, cruel, hopeful, a loser and a hero, all at the same time. Each of them knows at least one terrible truth and one wonderful lie.
I think you feel the weight of all that, and carrying it exhausts you. That is not hate, not really; rather a surfeit of love.

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