I have been a resident of New York City
for all of 16 days.
Some might say that in sixteen days, there is no way that I could understand this place, and its people. But I believe that somewhere deep down, all people are the same; somewhere, they have the same wants and needs and desires and love and hate and passion and confusion, regardless of where they are from. Since I moved here, I've taken several walks through the city: on the crowded streets of Times Square, a deserted street in Chinatown, Herald Square, SoHo, the East Village. I've seen the people, lived their lives, and guessed at the stories hidden behind their eyes. In the sense of universal connection, I know as much about the city as anyone. People here walk about in a certain manner that lets you know you're in New York.
But not today. Today, I got up early to go to my school's rememberance ceremony. There were at least 2000 people present. Not a word was spoken. For the first time since I've been here, I didn't hear a word. I've heard more voices at 3:00 AM than I did then, at about 8:40. Church bells tolled throughout the city, ringing off of the skyscrapers and down the quiet side streets. The only sounds that made it even recognizable as New York were the sounds of buses and cars driving by, and for the first time since I've been here, there was no honking. A stiff breeze blew by, and I saw the first leaves of autumn blow off the trees and flutter to the ground. No one spoke, no one looked at each other. People would walk by, looking at the eyes of others, to see what they felt. Eye contact has a powerful way of revealing emotions and fears and passions and insecurities. But, no actual eye contact was made by the people walking by. Should two people's eyes accidentally meet, both quickly averted them towards the ground.
The city has been beset by a somber fog of rememberance. As the names of people who had been killed were read, there was dead silence. The church bells tolled once more, and then 2,000 people got up and walked away in perfect silence. The only thing that I have experienced that even comes close to this was the mood at the rememberance ceremony for Columbine High School, which took place at the movie theatre down the street from my house, with the school just across the park. But even that was not this silent. It is as if the city itself is weeping. The sounds of silence really do echo.
Today never knows what will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow never knows what will come. It is a thoroughly depressing day in the city.