Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lost in the shadows of the city lights

Portrait of Saurish Lahiri by Anirban Saha

Post originally written in April 2012 as a reaction to the above photo for Anirban Saha's photography project. His fantastic website is

There's a comfort in anonymity; in being one in a million. One in five million, to be more precise.

She lets go of my hand. Even though the night is warm and muggy, the sudden coolness in my palm spreads throughout my body. We step off the train. This is no time or place for sentimentality. We go our separate ways. No one has to know.

My mind remembers; my hand remembers as I make my way home through narrow streets unsuitable for the number of people who travel them daily. I skip over a pothole, dodge a passing car. The driver honks his horn at me. It is the only interaction we will ever have. 

I keep walking. Passers-by complain about the weather. Hot; humid; smog; pollution. But they understand nothing. The fools don't realize that they cannot breathe because the night air is full of urgency. 

Everything is important right now. The weather, the cars, the girl. Especially the girl. Some kid, slouching along in his low-slung jeans and too-tight t-shirt, is playing music out loud on his phone. I've heard two songs now and they were both about her. Every song is about her. DJ, get out of my head.

I catch a whiff of what seems like her perfume; I become hypervigilant, searching for her face in the crowd. But she is not there; perhaps it was someone else, perhaps only an olfactory memory, but it nearly brings me to my knees. I lean against the side of the nearest building and catch my breath. That damned kid is still somewhere around. Maybe I should give him my headphones. But then a familiar guitar intro slams into me, soon to be followed by lyrics that will tear into my soul. A river of red taillights adds to my sensory overload. 

Isn't this what I wanted? This feeling that everything matters? This crowd, the fading summer heat, these taillights, these songs, this perfume? The moment where everything is centered in Her; this feeling of endless possibility that will only last until I dial her number one last time, only to find it disconnected? 

This very moment is the pinnacle of my life, in all of its pain. After this moment, it's all downhill from here.

 I close my eyes. A tear slips through the lashes. 

No one has to know.

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