My daily walk from class to home is, according to Google maps, exactly one mile. Usually, I fill the time by ruminating on my homework for the night, calling a friend, or blasting terrible 80s pop through my headphones. Tonight, however, I was overtaken by something that made thoughts on all else impossible.
Stepping onto the awkward concrete triangle that divides the BU Bridge crosswalk, I noticed two girls who carried between them a rather large painting. As the light switched from red-orange hand to little white man, they hefted up the piece once again and carried on with it. I wondered: Which of the girls had painted the piece? Why had she used the colors she did? Where were they moving it from and where was it headed? Was this a graded assignment or the pure result of passion?
Then: What got the girl into painting? How long did it take to refine her craft? How many drafts had ended in frustration, torn on the studio floor? How, after all the identity-crushing machinations of the college application process, did she end up here at BU, carrying her painting down Comm Ave?
After the girls disappeared, I became hyper-aware of the lives happening around me: the hundred students crammed into the BUS, warm with the prospect of dinner; the feather-haired boy in a three-piece suit skateboarding in the bike lane. My stomach turned, my eyes gleamed, and I thought, I’m in love.
Is that possible? Is it possible to love not a life, but the simultaneous collision of thousands of them? Is it possible to love Boston as a being, butterflies and all?
This city, I thought, is a palimpsest, unceasingly writing itself only to be erased and rewritten. People intersect, bump and clash. Lives beat on to the pulse of six hundred thousand hearts, some light and some heavy. Somewhere, someone laughs. Elsewhere, someone is mixing cream into their coffee, while a third tears up old photographs.
The weight of life crushed heavily upon my chest, and I ceased to breathe. I thought, we are all protagonists and antagonists. I thought, our lives are comedy and tragedy and both and neither. I thought, Boston is human; Boston breathes. I thought, I love.
Maybe there is a happy ever after. I’m certainly head over heels.
I apologize for using such tired clichés, but what do you expect? I’m in love.