I desperately miss the city on these chilly Autumn nights.
Walking through country town streets is not as exciting as navigating the city’s tattooed alleys and rape-tunnels when the air is cold against your face and trains and trams click and clack across tracks, silver with the reflection of the moon.
The dark clouds scattered across the sky above me are tinged Batman-purple from the glowing city lights, leading me to the bottle shop a few blocks away.
I huddle deeper into my hoodie as I pass a drunk girl waiting at a bus stop. The glaze in her eyes tells me she’s a couple of glasses ahead of me and I quicken my pace, wanting to be at home when that happy moment strikes.
Couples pass me, arms linked in smiles understood only by each other. Businessmen talk into headsets but still hold their phones in their hands. Women tuck scarves into coats and I weave between them all, intent only on my destination.
The bottle stares down from its place on the shelf. Its familiar black label is at once comforting and assuring as I wrap my hand around the neck and carry it to the counter.
We never make idle chit-chat, those bottle shop bartenders and I. With our eyes downcast, we swap notes for coins and in a mere matter of minutes, my feet are carrying me back the way I came, through the scarf-tucking women, the phone-holding businessmen, and the arm-linking couples.
People congregate at intersections, waiting for lights to change, their impatient feet unable to remain still. Some are rocking blanket-covered prams hiding tag-along children, eager for that lullabye car-trip home.
As I near my own home, the crowd disappears and the cold gets closer. Streetlights are sparse and comforting as wide car-filled roads give way to narrow lanes strewn with newspapers and milk crates.
On those nights, I would turn my key in the lock and be glad to be leaving the city outside.
Tonight, I turn my key in the lock, missing its energy.