Insomnia on Amsterdam Avenue

The lights are all gone now, they are extinguished, lost like a smile in the rush of a busy day, muted like praise or the touch too affectionate. Muted like those three shitty words.

Yeah, the lights in this little city are all extinguished now, all gone, except really they're not. It's the middle of the night but I can still see them. I stand at the window, awake alone, while the rest of the world sleeps, listening to the cars racing by, the wheels unrolling reels in the middle of their independent movies: cars deep into drug deals or romantic misadventures, cars into grand theft auto and late-night revenge, cars making the midnight run for a supersweet Honeybun and Jolt cola before the variety stores close.

The theme from Dynasty echoes in my ear.

I'm young and I know it, naive and raw, aching and bleeding in juvenile minors. I understand enough to know that I couldn't possibly understand. I promise myself that I'll forget these moments, that life will only get better, that it is possible to fight off the Alone. Except I know that someday I'll be looking back on this pitiful moment, the rumble in my stomach, the mysteries in my head. I know that some day I will look back and take some comfort in the fact that at one time I could never fall asleep, because even now, even at this early age, I know that someday I will. Someday I will fall asleep without trying. And that scares me more than anything.

Grace and Joe and my brother sound asleep, and me at the window, seeking out the lights still lit, warm with dimmer switch and softer tones, with light ambient and sentient, across the street & triangle, lights still lit above the video store, softer now, romantic encounters aglow by pole lamps bouncing off of apartment eggshell white... lost souls sat in their easy chairs, watching old movies all night. I absorb them all: lonely and the loved, the lost and the lobotomized, the logical and the loco, the lords and the low-lives... and I'm just glad to be one of them.

So here I am, in my borrowed pajamas, tops and bottoms, escaping from strange blankets, full on Falcon Crest and Pepperidge Farm, and I'm up all night looking out the window, at the people in this strange city, at the cars driving by, and although I haven't met you yet...

I am praying that you're out there.

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