Nocturne

At night, the world shines at you differently

At night, the world shines at you differently. Leaning against the balcony of my apartment terrace, I can pick out the ingredients of the spell it throws at me with my eyes blindfold. I inhale the mixture of light and sounds. It’s intoxicating, in its own neon way. In the artificially lit dark, what you choose not to see during the day takes on a whole new, sharper form. Perhaps I see it precisely because I’ve always been a nocturnal person.

I flinch as something burns my hand and then realize I completely forgot I’d been holding a cigarette. I send it tumbling down into the darkness with an annoyed flick of the fingers. The neon lights intensify then, momentarily dazzling the eyes when I look back up, until they readjust to the glow. It’s quite dizzying, the view from up here, skyscrapers and all. Still, I enjoy these moments, watching this forest of pinks and blues and reds and greens.

I kick back my tumbler of scotch, relishing the spread of warmth, the perfect partner to the dancing cold on a night outside. Decide to ignore the languid calls from the bedroom, cajoling me back. Whatever her name was, she doesn’t know I have only one mistress. The night has always been close. I acknowledge her caress with the now empty glass held up in a mute toast. Ephemeral perhaps she is, but certainly less fleeting than a few moments tangled in the sheets ever will be, if you’d care to count the seconds.

There’s something endlessly fascinating about the night bleeding into every nook and cranny of the city. Possessive, not taking no for an answer. My muse. And the city her canvas. Despite the people’s efforts to keep the darkness at bay, they only make it stand out in much starker contrast.

When the light of day fades away, with its buzz of activity, other lives resume. Perhaps the city is not quite as loud or frenetic as under the glare of sunlight, yet it takes on a new, no less colorful raiment. Everything moves slower underneath, it seems, but with an urgency lent only to those who know they need to make good use of the limited time before the sun rises anew. Yes. Doubtless there are others sharing my nighttime habits.

I climb onto the balcony railing with minimal effort. My bare feet have stood here before. I hold my balance. Gaze down upon it all, the city within a city, spreading in all directions. To me it’s a map to a game with a myriad possible routes and scenarios glowing in the dark.  And I wonder about the next move.

Not too long, however. The neon lights blink once. I jump spread-eagle into the void and meet the onrushing air. There’s nothing to fear.

I own the night.

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