I was leaning against the bar in a speakeasy on 52nd street, waiting for Nora to finish her Christmas shopping, when a girl got up from the table where she had been sitting with three other people and came over to me. Closer, with a wiggle in her step, a fierce determined look on her face and a slight sheen of sweat dancing on her forehead. Her eyes hazy, not quiet in focus, she looked beautiful in the low lighting or maybe it was the alcohol coursing through my system. Her hair brushed along my cheek as she ordered a drink, probably the 20thone of the night judging by the smell she was giving off. My position at the bar is one I regret immensely. Where once we introduced ourselves, we are now introduced by others or be suspected as a copper. I’m still so used to how things were then to how things are. I finish off the last of the liquid amber and head out into the freezing December air that once upon a time chilled me to the bone. It is merely a light breeze to me now, even after I have been replanted home.
My heavy footsteps bring down on the pure white snow below me with the thousands of different voices of the city all swirling together to form gibberish that is becoming deafening. Drowning out the lights and my inner voice, a part of me desires to scream into the sky to try and dispel the sound but I know it would not last. Was the city always this loud or had I just become more quiet? Turning into an alley where the sound was drowned out by the brick walls, making my way through the twisting world that was the back of the world, whether or not this would impede me or quicken my pace had no consequence about these factors. It smelled like fermented urine, loneliness and broken dreams which still oddly smelt of urine.
Out of the corner of my eye I see things move, I don’t look but I can hear them, the tiny scurrying, the squeaking as they fuck, those gnawing sounds as they consume waste, I feel my forehead dampen, my arm pits sweat and my eyes bounce around as I see their shadows moving on the walls around me. Once upon a time I would not have given a thought to a rat, neither shrieking in fear nor disgust but now I do both. It’s a shock to me, I’m still so use to how things were and not how things are. Heading further down into the alley, burying myself, twisting through the houses that are daunted by tower brick skyscrapers hidden like dirty secrets. My boots are crunching against the blackened piss soaked snow, releasing the rancid smell which was buried underneath it. Faeces, remains of a cat or a dog, old papers and objects that were either lost or thrown away by someone (whether it was forgotten by choice or lost by accident) it ended up here. Secrets, forgotten things, me, somehow drifting to the back of the world. Forgotten…how I wish I could forget myself. I think I would at least enjoy my company a lot more if I didn’t know myself, that would be liber-A shriek pierces my soul. The clumsy hands of a child throwing the building blocks of my thoughts into disarray, I look around, I can’t see anyone. There’s another shriek but it’s bouncing off the brick, I can’t tell where it’s coming from, circling me. There’s no way to fix it and no escape so I simply run. The cold air stings my face, the sides of the world blur creating only exit and entry forward but as I run forward the screaming doesn’t stop and instead is still present as ever. I collapse into the darkened snow and my body cannot move. I’m still so used to how things were then to how things are now that I no longer run to the screaming yet instead I run from it. The cold is seeping into my back as I stare up at the stars and the screaming stops, everything just stops when I stare at the stars.
Violence, death, despair, that all fades away in the milky black and burning bright lights, still the same, no matter where I go or what I say or who I loose, the stars always stay the same, never changing and when they fade you can’t tell because their light continues to shine. I wish I was a star-my friends, comrades, family, then I could always see them, be around them. I could just lie here forever and just stare up at the stars but there is a single star I need to see. Getting up off the ground I walk back into the world heading upwards to a closed down store where a few of New Yorks citizens have made home. I stand and I wait patiently. Hours pass by till the snow has piled high on the pavement and my feet are buried and numb and that’s when I see her. Nora, just as beautiful as when she saw me off all those years ago.
“Nora I have missed you.” I begin but she say’s nothing back to me, “I’m sorry I left, I should have stayed, I should have lied and cheated to stay in your arms instead rushing into the whore of war. Can you forgive me, please forgive me?” She says nothing to me, I turn around heading home when I hear a voice whisper in my ear. “That may be,“ Nora said, “but it’s all pretty unsatisfactory.“