7:15 a.m. autumn dark sky. Three little degrees above zero. And I’m walking where there’s no sidewalk to catch a bus. The stop faces the Hyundai dealership, all bright and humming with prospective sales. I scour my slowly caffeinating brain to describe the light filling the glass walls of the showroom. This brighter-than-white, artificial-day fluorescence that fills car lots and hospitals. That disrupts circadian rhythms and tilts the world at cockeyed angles. Makes me feel I’ve been up all night. Again.
This intersection is busy. Sodium streetlights almost irrelevant in the steady pulse of traffic. North-south, then east-west. Right angles of the compass. Pushing past and past. And in this whoosh and murmur of traffic, the song of this city pulls at my toes, and each mouthful of morning lingers on my tongue.
The bus is half dim. All lit up at the back where blue-collar boys lurch in and out of sleep to the rhythm of new passengers. I’m the stranger in this seat. They’ve all taken this route before, and the slow exhale of a work-week condenses into chatter. We’re all on our way to a Friday morning, for whatever it means, whatever it’s worth. My hearing sidles into the next conversation and curls with a cozy grin against a stranger’s voice.