By Meghan Jackson
His apartment is dark and downtown is quiet for a Saturday night. The nighttime lights of the city struggle to penetrate the black-out shades and, in failing, cast serene shadows around the room. Nighttime can be scary when you’re alone, but here it’s different. Nobody is alone in the city. Even if they want to be.
The city is the obnoxious neighbor innocently coming for a cup of sugar, but staying to do nothing except make noise.
It’s quiet for a Saturday night. At least on the seventh floor. The bars and clubs below most likely shaking the sidewalk with their overcompensating bass.
I lie in bed. Warm under layers. No February wind present, even though it fights against the large windows to get in, whistling and howling. I am wrapped in more than blankets. Under the layers, I am held by him. A man who is no longer chasing me. He caught me. His arms wrapped tightly around me. One under my neck, the other under my arm, meeting on the other side. Hugging me and pulling me closer. He is gone in dreams. Or maybe not. Maybe he is lying there in the darkness behind his eyelids. Seeing the shapes and spirals, following little lights where there are none.
Vividly, I remember the night he took what I so readily gave. He had slipped the ring off my finger, setting it gently on the nightstand. I felt the ring’s engraving staring at me with its cursive eyes. I’m Worth Waiting For. He leaned in close and whispered words that made me feel nothing.
“Just remember. God doesn’t exist.”
As I drift off into sleep, I hear the first sound in the quiet night. Softly at first it begins whistling. The sound carrying out over the buildings and into the sky. The city bus singing in the streets. As it speeds up the singing grows louder, alerting people on the sidewalks of its presence. I imagine what it would be like, to not be paying attention, walk into the street unaware of the blinking red hand, and have a singing bus be the last thing you hear. A 30,000-pound lullaby.
Meghan Jackson is an senior at Iowa State University working to obtain her degree in English, while also trying to maintain a steady income to feed her cross eyed cat, Winnie. Check out her twitter @missmegjax