Something Worth Remembering

I walk through the city in the dusty pink of early morning.

This city is big and it is famous. Songs are written about it. It is written across shirts, baseball caps. People travel absurd distances to visit it, pay absurd amounts to live in it. It is not a gentle city; it tugs at your wallet, honks at you, bumps into you, jams you into tiny apartments and overstuffed subway cars.

Over eight million call this home, but it’s common to feel lonely here. After all, most walk the sidewalks with defenses up, headphones on, shoulders in, being tough. Or at least trying to play the part.

At daybreak, though, the city is a gentler habitat. People with big coats over pajamas walk their dogs. Kids with hair still wet from the shower wait at bus stops. There are faces without makeup, wrists without watches, unshaved cheeks and chins.

The city isn’t so guarded and isn’t so lonely in that dusty pink time of day. After all, we draw closer to each other when we can see our vulnerabilities and our softnesses, our common humanity.

Soon, day will break. The subways, streets, sidewalks will fill. Tough faces, tough looks will be put on.

I walk further in the soon-to-pass vulnerability of morning. And I decide that today, I will remember this truth: all this toughness masks the soft and earnest humans we are, hungry for connection, hoping for belonging.

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