Next November, 11:00 p.m.

This windowsill clutches me, as if I’m reclining in a malformed hammock, and I open my last beer. By now my eyes have adjusted to the blackness, and I listen to AM radio static, pretending to search for aliens. From my vantage point, I imagine what it’s like to be able to see absolutely everything.

Distant Brooklyn hovers amidst flayed sparkles, severed from reach by the FDR and wet ice. It vibrates and hums, rendered invisible by its unrelenting blur of transit. Skyward, with horizontal flows memorized, helicopters paddle the air, slow without sound as they touch the ground and clutch. These vehicles are led by rigid peaks, each spindle telegraphing clockwork reds, and nobody except me watches the flickers and pulses overhead. Or so I pretend. These towers exhale most deeply at night, venting soft white only in private, once their inhabitants have scattered. Bedtime is now. So fifty floors are left darkened, aside from spots of neglected halogen, and I too consider retiring.

Then there are those who call this place home. Their torsos shifting behind orange curtain glows, laying their fare for shared ingestion. Children bounce approvingly, backlit by the staccato blue gibberish of a gleaming widescreen. Ten feet further up, my topless neighbor hangs herself out of the window to smoke. This is a frequent occurrence, and I wonder why she doesn’t just smoke inside. Maybe she too is watching.

We both glance in the direction of a sudden clattering below. On the floors of our shared crevice, three stories down, skateboarding adolescents etch their presence onto worn gray. Barking, they gesture with young fingers, expending energy I no longer possess on movements I never understood. I am no longer alone. My isolation was fleeting, but I intend to remember it. Finishing my beer, I reluctantly decide to return to reality. So I roll over and go to sleep.

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