I lie in bed, my body naked and flushed. The open window providing no relief from the sweltering summer heat. My mind empties, allowing the sounds from the street below to invade my consciousness. The blaring of incessant horns and impatient sirens assault my senses, putting my nerves on end. I toss and turn trying to escape the city’s clutch, but I’m only drawn further into its mania as a quarrel erupts between lovers. Their malign and scolding words echoing off building walls, entering my chamber, my sanctuary that no longer feels sacred, but dirty, covered with the smut and grime of the city. Dirty like the bum sleeping on the steps of Penn Station who reeks of inexpensive ale and self-defecation. Dirty like the cheap whore on the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Forty-Second Street who sells her soul to fulfill the carnal addiction of a stranger. Dirty like the dilapidated drug dens in Alphabet City that crawl with roach and vermin infestations.
Overcome with disgust, I cover my exposed skin, shielding it from the sins of the city. But, my flesh cries out to the temptress, freeing itself from the suffocating bondage of the blankets, unmasking its desire to mingle with the night life, revealing its yearning for the scandal and forbidden excitement contained on this enchanted island. So, I surrender myself to her mystifying madness like a tormented slave surrendering to her master. I surrender to her beauty, her charm, her exotic pleasures and promises of freedom. I surrender to all of her seductive whispers, and, suddenly, my mind is at ease. The cacophony outside my window no longer resembles a clamor of confusion, but the hum of life, pulsing through her veins, carrying on her spirit. And, with this revelation, she lets me sleep.