The Apocalyptic Bridge

The downtown skyline as seen from the Manhattan Bridge
The downtown skyline as seen from the Manhattan Bridge

I’m old enough now to know that euphoric, honeymoon-like moments are brief, fleeting, and something to be savored when they happen.  Such was the experience walking over the Manhattan Bridge for the first time.

There was no effort needed to suppress any type of guilt, second-guess, or any type of question about where and what I’m supposed to be doing.  No past regrets.  All the baggage comfortably somewhere else in another time and place.  Even though I was alone, there was a comforting knowledge of all the people I am close to.  I didn’t have to try.  I wanted to be no place else.

The bridge itself has this post-apocalyptic feel to it.  All metal, with the subway vibrating the thing to its bones with every passing.  It’s over 100 years old and looks like something out of a movie set.  Batman might be around the corner.

The walk continued through Brooklyn Bridge park, where the atmosphere felt very much in contrast to the hustle of Manhattan.  For all it’s intensity, the city most definitely had its spots of solace, and I had just found one.

Back across the Brooklyn Bridge.  Far more people this time.  No apocalyptic imagery but this odd feeling of walking just *this* far above everything.  I had a flashback to a moment many years ago, walking across the same bridge, just as we were descending into Manhattan.  My friends at the time had recently moved from Dallas, and were raving about the city.  They encouraged me to come.  I remember thinking that I did want to come, but when I was ready, and for my reasons.  That was now six years ago.

The moment lasted well into the next day.  I remember seeing it go.  It was on the N train, construction forcing us to go dead slow, when the fatigue the city can easily inflict hit me: I just want to get home, f– this construction, f– the speed limit, just get me to 59th street so I can at least move under my own direction.  Back to real life.  Back to chores, to making new friends, to managing fatigue and stress and work and bills.  Back to making something of this experience you’ve been granted.

But wow, what a moment.

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