On The Train

The nighttime window, open to the air of the surrounding mountains, cool and fluid, permits the world to enter the bedroom through slats of light and cast itself across the strange shadows of muted hues stacked upon the walls.

Apartment building sounds: the vertical echoes of lives along the air shaft, moving mysteriously, mathematically, telling the kind of stories Perec would construct.

The city sounds entering too, everything is always awake, always moving in a city, that restless life is carried through the air, which never sleeps either.

Each sound flows into the next, a melody in a movement; the verse, the chorus. A baby’s coo, a dog’s bark, a television laugh track, an airplane on final approach, a serious discussion in a foreign language, the tuneless warbling of a favorite song, a siren, a muffled sob.

The lights give in one by one to the night’s demands, as close to darkness as the city gets. A tired afterglow along the air shaft, interrupted by the flash of headlights, the assertive report of a switch, then a spotlight from above a nearby midnight toilet flushed, a moment collapsing again into the half light of sleeplessness.