Turning the corner onto the Crossroads of the World, his body is bathed by a deluge of light. His brown skin reflects neon-red as the silhouettes of dancing images are cast upon his dark clothing. He moves within a sea of humanity coursing its way through the urban ravines of midtown Manhattan. The crescent moon above is obscured by the legion of lights, advertisements and television screens which defiantly cast their brilliance upon the streets of Times Square. Echoes of frustrated vehicles and distant conversations provide a hypnotic ambiance which accentuates the pulse of the city. A crisp breeze whips through the artificial mountains that tower confidently as monuments to American dominance. He zips up his jacket and continues his journey through the congested streets.
A potpourri of auto exhaust, ethnic foods and faint traces of urine commingle with the incessant zephyr to invade his nasal passages and awaken him to a stunning realization; at this moment, he is alive. The cool air seeps into his lungs. Each breath dissipates into his bloodstream as his body sheds atomic fragments of itself in order to maintain the delicate balance of its reciprocal relationship with the city. He gazes into the eyes of oncoming pedestrians seeking to forge a connection between seemingly distant souls. Yet his glances go unnoticed, and eventually become lost within the apathy of the masses.
Once again, he inhales New York.
He is conscious of the movement within his lungs as they are inundated with the distinct stench of Manhattan. His heartbeat diminishes to an inaudible hymn which slowly grows louder as he commences down the final leg of his journey. His dark shoes bounce off of a sidewalk moistened by evening showers. The blinking lights from above reflect upon the wet pavement to render an abstract painting at his feet. His neatly-pressed black trousers sway with the rhythm of his stride. The wind carries a tattered sheet of newsprint into his path; he steps on it. A moistened footprint attaches the paper to the sidewalk for an instant. Soon the paper is destroyed by the throngs of human feet which follow his path through space and time.
The shriek of metal-against-metal awakens him from his internal retreat. As he catches his first glimpse of the 42nd Street subway station, a surge of nausea overwhelms his body. The boldness disappears from his gait and though his body continues to move forward, his mind remains paralyzed by the realization of its own transience. His heart continues to sing its hymn to the ghost of an ancient God. He buries his hands into his pockets as he begins his descent down to the busy subway station.
The neon-darkness is slowly overtaken by the fluorescent light within the station. His brown skin and dark hair glow with the ethereal brilliance of a man who is on the verge of attaining a genuine tranquility within himself.
Once again, he inhales New York.
Each breath enables his mind to synchronize with the relaxed state of his body. The dusty air extinguishes the remaining embers of doubt which weigh upon his soul.
A train pulls up to the crowded station. Mechanized doors open and a flood of people proceed from each opening slowly making their way to the excitement of Times Square's attractions. An equal mass of commuters force their way onto the stationary train as NYPD officers stand guard, with weapons displayed, as a symbol of New York's refusal to submit to evil-doers. The mass of commuters flows around them like a river coursing its way through a rocky landscape. Voices cut through the raucous shrieks of trains arriving and departing. Women laugh and children cry while men rush through the crowds in order to conduct business deals within the chic elegance of Manhattan's finer eating establishments.
New York pulses with life.
He steps onto the crowded train and grabs a handrail in lieu of available seating. The cold metal sends shockwaves throughout his arm. His perspiration imprints a phantom of his hand upon the metallic rod as he walks forward. He is encircled by a crowd of Manhattanites making their way to the various corners of the city. As the car continues to fill with passengers, the circle which surrounds him tightens until he is no longer able to move freely. He is engulfed within the body heat of the crowd. His legs brush against the legs of others and each movement brings him into a physical union with a fellow passenger. As the doors slide shut, the train abruptly begins to move. His body is jerked by the sudden motion as he begins his journey through the perpetual darkness of New York City's tunnel system.
The hymn sung by his heart now overshadows the faint embers within his mind. He moves without thought as if his limbs were connected to an unseen consciousness. The heart's melody replaces all external sounds as his soul exhales and drifts into a state of bliss. His hand reaches into his dark jacket and he gently presses a small button. In this instant, he is freed.