I like the way my city looks when she is sleeping. When it’s 4 AM and the roads lay completely still. When the traffic lights are blinking, because for the few cars cruising the streets, there’s no need to slow them down. They’ll have the place to themselves for awhile.
I like the way my city tastes before she’s brushed her teeth. Morning breath is supposed to be thick and foul, but her air is never fresher, never crisper than when she is sleeping.
I like the way my city sometimes grabs a blanket of fog from the closet, then pulls it over her shoulders. By the time company arrives, she will have rolled it up and put it back where it belongs. Though every now and then she forgets, and stays resting underneath it all day long.
I like the way my city feels when she hasn’t yet decided what weather to wear for the day. Or maybe she has, and she’s just not telling. I suppose we’ll worry about the climate soon enough, but right now, there’s no rush. It’s just us.
I like the way the cars look when they’re dozing, lining the sides of the road. Though there are a few insomniac automobiles, purring through the streets. And you can hear every sound as the tires rush against the pavement. Hear them coming, hear them going. Shuttling their passengers to the office, or ferrying their loved ones to the airport.
I like the way the street lights glow unencumbered. With no stray headlights vainly pulling focus. When they are the only beacons on the road, they shine like the spotlights on an empty stage in an abandoned theater.
I like the way the stores relax when they are off the clock. When they are not focused on things like sales, margins and profits. When they are getting a few hours of shuteye before the morning shift.
Soon, it will be 6:30, and the people will take over. They’ll turn on their lights, fire up their coffee machines, and run the water in their showers. The diehards will squeeze in a workout at the gym, and the dog owners will take their canines out for a stroll.
And if you look outside in that moment, the traffic will be light, the sky will be dark, the homes will be calm, and you might be fooled into thinking that you caught my city at the tail end of her slumber. But you haven’t. She’s waking up now. Still mildly groggy, but easing into her day all the same. She’s waking up now, and you missed the most beautiful time of day.
The time when she was sleeping.