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Journeys

Journeys

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Published by Jason Wong
Diary of an urban pilgrim.
Diary of an urban pilgrim.

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Published by: Jason Wong on May 21, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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06/14/2009

 
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In Transition
The subway is empty. On either side are two black wormholes that take you to your nextdestination. White fluorescent lights mix with halogen ones to create a faded yellow glow which engulfsthe station. A pipe is leaking somewhere; other than the never-ending buzz coming from the lightsthere is the drip-drip-drip sound of water. The white and black checkered tiles are old and faded.Several are broken and dirty. Yet they still silently mirror the scene around them, giving off a dirty glossylook that is reminiscent of the glorified grand opening many years ago. The advertisements of well-to-do corporations are hung on the walls in a perfectly straight line parallel to the floor. They have graffition them for one of the ladies has grown a permanent marker mustache. On the edge of the platformbefore the subway tracks are the yellow bumps that warn travelers not to fall into the tracks. There is amusty smell in the air.As I step forward into this environment, the echo from my steps cut sharply into the buzz fromthe lights and the leaking pipe. I close the book I was reading and place my stuff on the bench, whichhas just been repainted a dull gray to cover up the graffiti. Finally aware of my surroundings, I get upand stretch, staring into the two black tunnels on either side of me that go to different places. Theyseem to go on forever. I feel comfortable stuck between two different worlds: the place I left and the
place I'm going to. I’m in transition. My destination doesn't matter anymore; it’s what I'm d
oing nowthat counts. I'm removed from-
everywhere. I’m waiting to go
- somewhere.Each thought changes with each drip: No one's here but I don't feel alone. I don't feel bad but Idon't feel happy. What am I feeling? I'm neutral. Nothing seems to matter here. I don't care how Ilook or what I say. I don't care what time it is. I can do anything here while I wait. There is no shame,there is no gloating. There is nobody here that controls me, evaluating me, embarrassing me, pressuringme. Drip. Drip. Drip. As I think about school, history, math, chemistry
my thoughts drift into thinkingabout the two black tunnels, about the rhythmic drip-drip-drip sound about me. I feel my body tune in
to the subway. There isn’t much to notice around me,
so I notice everything. The red electronic signshanging from the ceiling fluctuate, blinking on and off "$#sQ3#%td&@". Broken. Meaningless.A train is coming. I hear it. It opens its doors and I step inside, and we head into one of the twoblack tunnels that go on forever, together.
 
Under Construction
The darkness engulfs us. It is periodically broken by a fading fluorescent light that dimlyilluminates the tunnel. It is as if the light itself is moving, and we are standing still. But we are the onesin transition. Here, we are the guests. You can feel the speed increasing and it feels like the ground ismoving faster and faster underneath you, but inside your head you know it is the train. Forget the world.
Why can’t the ground mov
e the lights past us? We are the ones that are still, while the world itself moves us this way and that. For a minute, the world is pushing by you while you sit. But the worldslows to a stop and the train doors open, leaving you to make the next move. You move up the stairs,exit the turnstiles and walk into the dark night.It is late at night, but there are workers taking a break from cleaning the station and arechatting amicably in a closed restaurant's table. You walk past them. Looking up at the sky, you noticethat the stars are absent; stars are being outshone by the city lights. You walk down three empty blocksand besides the wind the only thing you hear is your breathing and your footsteps. As you prepare toturn the final corner into your house, there is a construction site in front of you.It is empty. Inside, lights are shining. A sign says KEEP OUT, and another says DON'T CLIMBSTAIRS. You jump the fence and climb the stairs. The cold cement foundations of the building are done,and yo
u explore the middle of the second floor. It’s empty, incomplete, and abandoned until morning.It’s perfect. You have this vast empty building to yourself for the time being. In a few more months it will
be full with people sleeping, eating, and heading to work. You appreciate the silence, but break it withyour noise. You make your way to the third floor with no ceiling, lean against the unfinished woodenwalls and sigh, falling to the floor.As you lay face up to the sky, your sweatshirt as your pillow
, you shiver. It’s chilly. Time stops as
nothing moves. The streets are empty, everyone's asleep. There's nothing to disturb you except thewind. You stare at the night sky and let your mind leave this place. For a brief moment, your eyes seethrough everything: through the sky, through the stars, the solar systems, then the galaxies. You seemany things in the black empty space.A steady light coming from the east slowly breaks into part of the darkness. Your mind runsaway from it. As the sun rises with your body lying on the floor, your eyes staring at the sky, your mindruns fast through the universe, trying to escape.

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