There are many beautiful
sights on this planet; we don't often get to see them, those of us living in big, smelly cities, but sometimes they find their way through the smog
, the litter, the yuppies
, and take us by surprise.
I was living in Dublin at the time, right on the outskirts, before I moved to the city centre. There was a night bus service on Friday and Saturday nights, which was good for people like me who wanted to drink after 11pm with their friends, but the last one was at 3am - you missed that, you were fucked, there weren't any more until about half 6 (may be different now, I've been in London a few years). Anyway. I'd missed the bus a couple of times, and had to sleep on the street - I found a doorway once, the other time I curled up in a phonebox. I'm glad I'm not really homeless - it's fucking cold and lonely in the city at night. But I digress.
The third time I missed the bus, I walked the streets for hours, bought a paper, read it, and walked some more. Then I had the bright idea of watching the sun rise - I'd heard about people doing this, but never tried it myself. And since I was in town anyway, that time of the morning, what the hell? I headed to O'Connell bridge, which gives you a nice view all the way down the river, almost to the horizon. I lit a cigarette, and waited for the sun.
Eventually, something magical happened, something so utterly beautiful it took my breath away. It was a clear night, and the stars were out in force. I had a clear view of the sky to the horizon, so when the sun peeked over the edge of the world, I could still see the stars over my head. There was a split second when I saw the sun and the stars together, and then suddenly, all the stars went out - not all at once, but in a wave, from the horizon, towards me, over my head and past me to the other horizon. It was like the sky was a black tarpaulin with thousands of pinpricks in it, and someone had quickly slid it off to let the sun in; I was actually able to follow the sunlight's progress, and whipped my head around to watch it go by. I don't know if it always happens that way, I thought they sort of went out one by one, and then the day arrived. Maybe it was just that one time, the atmosphere, the position I was standing in, a trick of the light - I don't know, and I don't care. I actually gasped out loud, such a movie cliche thing to do, but I did it, I couldn't help it, it was a reflex action to being shown this wondrous sight.
It was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. I felt so privileged to have been able to see it, and there wasn't a single soul around to share it with me - it was all mine. It was worth staying up all night, freezing and hungry, and I made my way home later on with a smile on my face. They don't come very often, these moments, but they sure as hell have an impact when they do.
I haven't watched a sunrise since then. I don't want to spoil it, in case it's not as good. That memory will stay with me forever.