Prompt 010: The Night

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Photography by Marius Vieth, award-winning German street photographer based in Amsterdam (location of Midnight Cowboy, 2015, above). Make sure you check out more of his work at www.mariusvieth.com

Oh, what a night.

The day was dull. And dusk it came quickly, throwing shadows down with the promise of more. Thick cloud rolled in to seal off the city, an inescapable void of sepia tones that burst into colour when you blinked. Having observed it all from the balcony it had to be experienced, it had to be lived.

And oh, what a night.

I sat there for some time; eyes shut, ears tuned to whatever whispers I could extract from below. I worked through a pack of cigarettes, bottles of beer, vicodin and an easy-peel orange to delay the inevitable. The night had spoken and it had spoken to me. Having prepared myself I, in appropriate evening wear, descended the stairs of the apartment and found myself there, in the middle of it all. I had no ambitions and lacked direction so I walked towards the bright lights on the horizon. Somehow resisting the immense pressure of the night, the inevitable night that hangs over all.

Yes-composed and constructed-what a night it would be.

Against the teasing soundtrack from passing cars I could barely stop myself from chasing I watched people congregate, move together in streams across the river and along the canals seeking their favoured neon signs. And the night, it continues to caress me. Do you see what I see? Can you feel what I feel? My thumping heartbeat orchestrates the body as I stroll the promenade in the safety of those incandescent street lights that surround me and those I walk with. I met them outside a pretzel stand, we talk, we laugh, we share a bottle. The smile on my face contagious. When we part ways they continue to glow in the darkness. The warmth in my bones infectious.

The night, it makes me tremble with childish fever, over the infinite possibilities it has teased. Twilight girls smile and laugh, touch and tickle but I pardon myself and keep walking, amicable, appreciative. For now I enter a bar where the air is warm and close and for the shortest amount of time imaginable I hold the gaze of the entire room which after blinking is all and none at the same time; cautionary stares, inquisitive glances, cheerful acceptance. And then the music starts again and the moment is lost, but for a time we were all connected. Deeper in I wander, lusting for some deeper bond to share the night with. The outside air diffuses with the hot bars breath and generates electricity in the air, powers whirring motors, ushering sinful bottles to grateful mouths and sordid words to flirtatious ears. It laughs, it loves, it lives.

A man at the door asks my name. ‘Brother’, I tell him, ‘what’s in a name?’. He asks me to leave and we walk back outside into that glorious night. But when I turn to find him, he is gone. So I carry on into the night, head held high and eyes wide, but not wide enough.

© Nicholas J. Parr, 2015

3 comments
  1. I read in your about section that you are an aspiring writer. You seem to be doing pretty well for yourself, I was able to travel with the storyteller through the night travel. Your writing comes across very poetic, I like it. The descriptions in this are nice, though intensely vague in just a few parts (…in appropriate evening wear), which I understand could very well be on purpose, and is not inherently negative. Overall, beautifully written and well done. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hey – thank you for taking the time to read and comment. A critique is always welcomed – and thanks for the kind words!

      • You’re welcome.

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