My body wakes me up before the sunrise every day, without fail. I used to watch the city come alive from my East-facing fifth floor window. As the light peeked out from behind the tall buildings, cars started cruising down Eighth Street. Construction started on the apartment building across the street with men in neon vests replacing the dull grays of night. Pedestrians walked their children, bearing colorful backpacks, to school along the city streets. By the time my watch began buzzing at 7am, telling me to take my medication, the sky was bright and the city had woken.
These days the city remains quiet. The cars still arrive in the picture, but slowly, and not as many as before. It’s only during this morning commute of essential workers that there are enough to back up lanes at the stop lights. The construction workers still arrive, but there are fewer of them too. Their work is quieter, their colors subdued in some impossible way. And there are no pedestrians at all. There is no school to walk children to. No businesses to open up. No reason to be out at all apart from perhaps an early morning walk.
The city sleeps eternal now. It’s finally quiet enough to hear the birds. The sparrows chirping, the pigeons cooing. They remain, as unconcerned as ever. The rain comes, uncaring about how few people it’s catching out without umbrellas. The sunrise returns, night after night, peering into curtains and waking up those who have nowhere to go.