Through the Rain

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I am New York City, a place of happiness and joy. At least I'm supposed to be. Well, I can be. Or I can become your worst nightmare. The time is 11 PM. A frigid, windy fall evening. A crisp chill surrounds me, purging my night air with a dark, glum atmosphere. Although an incalculable amount of people still roam my streets, I'm lonely and cold. Completely silent, everyone just brushes past each other and continues solemnly on their way down my street. Even when I should be pitch dark, the bright, effulgent light from my buildings are a beacon that illuminate me and the space around me as well. Above my skyline, the darkness and light dance together. The deafening BEEP! of car horns and the occasional sound of voices blending together keep my pulse going. Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom. This same routine continues, all day, every day. I am constantly alive, awake. I am the city that never sleeps.

A young girl, timid and alone, enters the scene. She looks lost in my winding, endless streets, which terrify her as much as they would had they been a crypt. Its pouring rain, complete with thunder and lightning, and she's getting soaked in it, creating a feeling of disquietude. Jumping at the blare of a Taxi's horn, she hurries along, watching the ground as she walks. She walks with a sense of urgency, mumbling to herself scornfully now and again, reminding herself of something. No one pays her any mind. I wonder what she's doing out here so late. Its obvious she's not from here. But then I see she isn't even quite sure why she's here.

She stops walking as she passes my park. Its full of trees. Perfect trees, which stand tower far above her head, leafy and healthy. They all appear flawless--all of them but one. One lone tree has fallen, leaving it in two pieces with jagged, uneven edges. The trunk has broken off, leaving only an ugly stump attached to the ground. Dead, shriveled brown leaves surround it. This one tree wasn't perfect. Its awful, she thinks. Revolting. Broken. A disappointment. She hates it, she thinks to herself, and this is a hatred she knows all too well. She wonders if that tree wishes it were like the others. But she already knows the answer to that. It does. Then, out of the blue, a tiny, bright yellow butterfly floats down, landing on one of the broken pieces, its wings fluttering as if to console it. It changes the melancholy feel of the landscape to something else, something she can't place right away. But after a moment, she sees it. Hope.

Looking at her, I think I see tears brimming in her eyes, but they're gone just as quickly as they came, and now she's running. Rain. she remembers. She'd forgotten about it momentarily, but it was and is still there. It was raining. Hard. Rain, rain, go away.. She darts through the crowds of people, trying her hardest not to run into them. She stops abruptly outside one of my flower shops. Staring into the window, she sees the display. Rue flowers. She steps inside and buys just one, the biggest one she can find. Pinching the stem of the tiny white blossom in between her thumb and forefinger, she holds it away from her, as though repulsed, as she goes back out. Then she throws the flower onto the ground, and crushes it under her foot. Its over. Gone. Destroyed. Its mushed into the hard cement of my sidewalk. The rain begins to let up, little by little. Come again another day...

She sees one of the cars on my street slip out of control, crashing into one car, then another, then another. Its like a game of dominoes. And suddenly she's running once again. Sprinting, really. As fast as she can go. Never stopping. She can't stop. My lights are just a blur to her now. Her stomach is twisting into knots of pain. Then, unexpectedly, she stops. Why is she running? She has nowhere even to go to. She doesn't belong here anyways. But she doesn't know where she should go, or what she should do. I watch her sit in the center of my sidewalk, hopeless. Filled with despair. People ignore her, walk around her. She might as well not even be there anymore. I look again. She isn't.





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