The sky is on fire this morning. I can only see parts of the brilliant reds and fierce orange and pink shades cutting into the last of the East’s night sky. Or rather, the last of its dark morning sky – night technically ended hours ago, and this line is far less blurred in Pittsburgh. Bars close at 2. The buses take a pause in their circuits, and streetlights, even on my main thoroughfare, cease their incessant red, yellow and green switching to merely blinking a warning single color. I’ve been up early enough to see this, and I was alone on the street, smelling the curry smells from the Indian restaurants’ kitchen and itching to write my name on the steam at the bakery across the street.
The same rogues gallery sits on the bus again. The cheery man with the mustache always says “good morning” to me now. I guess I’m a regular. The older lady who always takes the very front seat fortunately looks at me with disdain; she talks at everyone who comes on the bus, and many a morning one will pull up his or her hood as to look preoccupied. I’m not part of her innner circle, but at 6:30 in the morning, this doesn’t bother me. I can’t decide if this collective are friendly or just lonely, but with such a sky to gaze at and a horizon on which to keep an eye to avoid nausea, I’m not up for idle chatter. Some mornings it takes all my concentration to stay upright. Here, the drivers are too slow, or completely careless, and with little sleep and in a sideways-facing seat, it spells a recipe for some inner ear turmoil. At least for me. Everyone else is used to it, or such is the impression that they transmit. But I don’t belong, not matter what vibe I give off, for I am often the only one left after the bus stops at the hospital.
The sky is a brighter pink, now, and I still wish I could reach out and touch yet, yet these carefully blended colors are too far into the distance. Where I take my leave of the rickety conveyance I can barely see the sky, yet it is pressing its thumbprint into the homes and windows up on the misty hills to the west. The temperature is lower than a few mere miles away. The dampness in the air hints at the river, but I can’t see it. I remember always feeling more free by the water, but I haven’t spend time near that much liquid in over a month. I didn’t in New York, either, once I’d stopped running, but trasversing or going underneath it once, twice, three times a day could be oddly comforting. Now, I walk where I tunneled, and breath the air and stride the hills where I once burrowed, before bursting up from thigh-killing stairs into some semblance of air. Up and down, these hills, four, five miles each day, going to and from coffee shop to studio to home. It’s often just me on the sidewalk. I’m alone cresting each peak and trudging down each incline. My legs no longer scream walking up the biggest hill of them all, and I feel the cleaner air pulsing through my system. I should feel invigorated, alive. But I am alone, and no steady energy flow and heartbeat of footsteps, dramas, conversation and rushing greet me. Here, it is adult. Here, it is different. Here, it is new.
“I didn’t need these things. I didn’t need them.”