at the clock

I take a seat underneath the ledge of the MTA Metro-North tickets booth, where the dust of Grand Central collects. From here I can see people’s gait, the way some snap their knees forward and how others stretch their legs with every step. Some shuffle towards the tracks, some clink away, and while others pat, pat, pat to the nearest exit. Two soldiers, masses of camouflage fabric, trudge in front of me. A little toddler with her dad trailing behind her, teeters across the marble floor. Like a lot of people I saw, the baby and her dad just disappear into temporary crowds of people. This is not rush hour. This is Sunday evening, an evening where most people are taking their time looking up at the teal ceiling of constellations, or sitting on the marble floor waiting for a train somewhere in the distance.

Conversations are kept among two or three people, creating waves of murmurs. I close my eyes to hear them. I could only hear the sporadic laughter descending from the floor above us.

As quiet as it was, the murmurs get louder. I can catch a few phrases from conversation now, Here, it’s here! Wait, stand to the right of the clock. I’m almost there. People’s pat-pat-pats and clinks-clinks quicken. People run with suitcases in hand, sometimes with their loved one in hand. A train has arrived and wheels roll. More flashes from cameras and more faces gawking up towards the ceiling. I hear the sound of keys jingling and someone whistling: a policeman with a dog surveying the many cross-ways.

What would this place look like if everyone left a trail of color as they walked or galloped across Grand Central Terminal? A cloud of changing color and density? The answer is for another day; I feel the police looking at me from across the floor. I decide to get up from underneath the ticket booths and shuffle towards the subway to go home.