The train is almost to school; my hour-long commute back from work is almost complete.
I’ve just switched onto my last train of the night, the third leg of my three-times-weekly voyage.
There are four other people in the train car. A father and daughter are hunched over their Subway sandwiches across the aisle from me. They’re chattering to each other in hushed tones, the soft conversation broken frequently by interjections from the young girl.
Two young women, probably college students, sit towards the back of the train car. One, her light hair styled into a funky up do, is balancing cross-legged on the thin train seat. Her backpack on the floor in front of her, and there’s a thick three-ring binder perched on one of her knees.
Studying on the train on a Monday evening.
The other woman, her long dark hair spread nonchalantly across her shoulders, sits against the back of the train car. She’s leaning back, eyes focused tiredly on some spot far beyond the end of the train.
Exhausted on a Monday evening train ride.
I still have minutes until my stop, until I step off the train and onto the freshly cut platform boards. But I can’t wait- I want to see out, I want to watch the city skyline slide past in the distance as the train rounds a bend and snakes its way towards the heart of the city.
I stand next to the sliding door, leaning against the plexiglass divider and swaying with the jerky rolling of the train.
The black outlines of young trees and clean-cut condo buildings zip past the scratched train window, and I strain my eyes to see past them to where I know the skyline will be.
Seconds turn into minutes as I wait expectantly for what I know is coming. My hands in my pockets, I watch and wait.
I notice the sky before I realize what’s happening. Out the window, my entire view is illuminated in pinkish orange. Warm, glowing light is emanating from the ground to my right, and my heart thrills as I realize what I’m seeing.
Fog has obscured the city skyline that so takes my breath away. Layers of thick fog swirl around the Hancock Building and the Sears Tower, obscuring them from my squinting gaze.
But the fog cannot hide the light of the city, the glow of a metropolis that does not go out, does not stop.
The sky behind, to my left, in front of me, is a dark purple. But to the right, out the window where I know the city is, is light. Murky, glowing, orange light that rises from thousands of urban buildings and streaks into the sky.
The train kept moving along the track, rapidly approaching my destination. And I remained just where I was, captivated once again by a glimpse of this city that I love so dearly. This city pumped full of lives and heart and moving people.
This glowing city.