You know that feeling at the beginning of the night, when you’re still at home in your apartment getting ready, and night is falling? When you have music on and clothes tossed around your room from trying on different outfits? You have makeup out all over your desk and sparkles on your cheeks and red on your lips. You have a cup of coffee steaming next to your eyeliner because it’s been a long week and it’s going to be a long night, in the best way. Your windows are open because it’s late June and you can hear the city’s second shift coming alive outside. Street lights have switched on and the air smells like smoke and laughter. Your phone pings with a spot to meet up and a smile pulls at the corners of your mouth.
You know that feeling when you finally leave your apartment and step outside and the birds are going to sleep but you’re just finally awake? When your headphones are in and your feet sync up with the beat and you’re down the subway steps and into a train car with the rest of the people headed out. That feeling when you look around you and catch someone’s eye and you both smile and look away. In an alternate universe maybe you’re laughing over drinks, teeth glinting in the candlelight of the bar.
You know that feeling of promise that a subway ride can hold? When you’re on your way and since nothing has happened yet, anything can happen. The number of stops between you and your destination gets smaller and smaller and your playlist is tailor made for these summer nights going out. The ebb and flow of the passengers is comforting in the way only a city full of millions of people all living their respective lives can be. The lights dim and glow as you zoom out of the station and while you’re on the train, on your way, time stops and as long as you’re moving you’re untouchable. The feeling of looking up from the floor as you pull into the station and you realize that you are just one of 3 and a half million people spinning your own orbit and everyone around you is just someone you haven’t met yet.
You know that feeling of standing outside of your favorite bar with your friends, laughing until your cheeks hurt? You’re doubled over or leaning against the wall because everything is so goddamn funny and the stars are so bright and the people passing on the sidewalk are covered in smiles and the air is that perfect midnight summer air and you swear you could live in that moment forever?
You know that feeling of getting back on the train to your final destination, just two of you now, headphones stretched between two people instead of wrapped around one throat? Standing in the corner of the train car leaning towards each other and all the seats could be full but it’s really just the two of you, the number of stops shrinking and shrinking until you step off at your stop with the sun just starting to paint the indigo sky baby blue and lilac. Birds are waking up and your legs are tired from dancing and your stomach hurts from laughing and walking to the gate takes forever and just the blink of an eye, another night danced away, ready to simmer into sleep.
Somewhere that moment is still stretching on and the memory is just as alive as that night. There is a world full of clinking glasses and flashing teeth waiting for us on the other side of where we’ve been for months now. The darkness will lift and the stars will shine back through the night sky. Rooftop bars and restaurants and laughing with friends you don’t live with across a table instead of a phone screen will still exist, and sunrises still happen during quarantine.