It's 2 in the morning, I woke up at 1 but I couldn't get more done than just turning left and right. I've been here before, sleep tends to escape me as of late, perhaps the change of season, age creeping up on me or something else altogether. An hour in and I'm about to give up when I hear a loud but slow moped in the distance. The decision is made for me, I certainly can't spend the next 10 minutes just listening to that awful noise. I put on some clothes and all but fall into my large armchair. As I settle in, I hope its soft cushions provide the necessary comfort I need to fall asleep. I sink into the chair a bit as it settles, an uncomfortable noise accompanies it. In the silence that I sought out, this noise, any noise, it's jarring. I noticed that I forgot to grab a blanket and get up again. Back with the blanket I fall back into the chair in a similar fashion. There I sit the blanket's weight on my legs, slightly draped over my shoulders, yet my eyes open, wide awake, the chair is just a bit too cold, I feel both warm and cold at the same time and I can't seem to catch the comfort I need to fall asleep.
I sit there and stare outside at one of the street lights. It seems to call to me. My mind numb, mesmerized at the light, waiting for something to happen, my gaze frozen. My clock tells me it's been 15 minutes by the time a bird flew past it and broke the spell. I was done sitting around waiting for my sleep to come back to me, what possessed me I don't know, but I went outside. It's only 2:30 now, and I'm outside. Where to go I don't know and I simply start walking. To the west today. I head to a main road and I'm amazed at the amount of light. A long row of street lights illuminate the road and the sidewalk. The bicycle lane too, its red asphalt less pronounced in the moonlight. I walk and with each light I pass I follow my own shadow. The way the light behind me casts a faint shadow, long but it very quickly fades in through the light ahead of me. Until I'm parallel with a light and then my shadow grows again until I'm in the darkest spot and the whole cycle repeats.
Before I know it I'm at the end of this road, I cross an industrial complex. Many dark alcoves and nooks hide industrial details, the road little more than slabs of concrete. Plants placed, guests to the scene, an afterthought to the previously purely functional nature of the area. There's something uncouth to the way things have been put together. Filth gathers in nooks and crannies, alcoves with dirty bags. Yet in a way, the way things have been repurposed to live in, a part of the city reclaimed, there's something bitter sweet to it, almost romantic. I grew up with industry here, a flurry of cars to and fro. Factory workers leaving, a brotherhood of productivity, often leaving with cigarettes lit, men sharing bold stories. There were times I looked back at that and wanted to feel that brotherhood myself. As I grew older and the taste of the stories slowly soured. The men grew older, their stories no longer bold but simply filthy, their voices raspy and their clothes in tatters.
As I continue, I start to reach a place where the city appears to end. A long road, to my left a forest, to my right small industrial building and small businesses. The street is well lit, but the sidewalk is dark, almost hidden away behind a layer of trees. Quiet, discrete, comforting. Walking in the shadows, by its very nature secretive, in a way exciting. The occasional car passes by, I wonder if they see me. Though in the night this way, who would even pay attention to me. I make a left turn and continue my walk. I'm wide awake. With each road I pass I find the buildings standing just a bit further away from the street. The city behind me slowly saying goodbye. I cross the motorway, the A2. A large bridge, the various lanes of asphalt below me. The perspective is wide and well lit. The lights marking the roads, trails indicating where we're allowed to be.
Again I find an area littered with offices and large cargo halls, in the distance a living tower marking a new village of its own, one that didn't exist 20 years ago. I decide to follow the road and I find my way into a more rural area. Large fields, long small empty roads. Green everywhere and somehow what stands out is that there's practically no litter. I take a random left turn and find myself in the middle of a suburban area. The streets are suddenly small and winding. There's a density to it, but not overwhelming. Houses are spaced out, gardens in front and behind, driveways too. Neat and delicate, balanced and cozy. As I make another left turn the first rays of the sun hit me. Shocked by its presence, I wake up, I truly wake up. I had lost track of time. For the first time today I find that I feel my exhaustion, I feel how tired I actually am. This was the reminder I couldn't ignore, 6:22 my clock tells me, it's a Saturday. Curiously refreshed, I make way towards the city center and I enter a large square, a place for the local market, small events, lights up above, a parking garage below. A floor of grey stones describing various abstract shapes. Ahead of me a street with shops, apartments on top of them. People move and start up their lives. An hour and 15 minutes to go. Then I can get breakfast and wait for a bus to head back home and maybe then finally I can catch a nap.