Hundreds of people, stretched out through the entire city, but as he leaned forward on the metal rail, he was thinking of only one. The one with the golden brown hair, and bright, wide eyes. The singular one he had the pleasure of calling friend. He exhaled images, they mixing with the fog his breath made in the early morning—or for him, late night—darkness. Sleep evaded him, much like stars evaded being seen in the day light, though above the city, with all its gleaming lights, they even evaded him now. A shame for such beauty to glare down, only to be missed by the people trapped by concrete walls.
He was trapped too, he realized, as he pulled his coat more tightly around his body. Trapped in the friendly cycle of hellos and goodbyes, all while avoiding the feeling that there was something more. He could have something more, whatever that was, he didn't have to be stuck here, but as many citizens, he chose to stay immobile. Sure, things happened, life moved on, events unfolded, but did anyone actually feel true appreciation? Maybe that was just something in movies, where the main protagonist, namely himself, would embark on some journey, and realize that everything in his cycle, was everything he'd been missing.
In this movie, in this imaginary life, he'd find many things. Romance with the main love interest, namely his golden haired friend, purpose and self worth, but also, he'd discover his uniqueness, and his ability to do the one thing others cannot. But, it's all imaginary, and he was no protagonist. His body stretched out, as his head pressed against the cool metal of the cheap balcony, his eyes fluttered shut, resting while the rest of him was in a state of displeasure. Taking chances in real life, well, it just never worked. Real life meant death, rejection, and saying the wrong words, no matter how many times you rehearsed them.
A siren sounded somewhere nearby, the sounds of barking and angry people who were up far past their usual bed times, the city flooded his consciousness. He had lived there most of his life, and he couldn't dream of anything better, the city was a beautiful thing all on its own. Unchanging by day to day interactions, other than the occasional new attraction or crumbling building of course. Frightening, how something so full of life, could be so cold and unforgiving, a demon. It was sucking the life out of everyone, and they enjoyed it. Many of the population wished they could retire, but the truth was, none of them ever could, they'd go mad from the silence and slow pace, this world, this calmness, it just didn't suit them. Until they were dead, they would belong to the city.
His eyes drifted unwillingly back open, and the city faded to the background. He shifted his body upward again, and he wished he were a smoker, if just to have something to do with himself. He traced the rough edges of the railing, feeling the places where the paint chipped away, and chipping away more himself. He brought a paint chip up to eye view.
"We aren't too different, friend."
He flicked the piece away, watching it drop off the balcony. He felt a sadness tug at him, as he turned away, stepping back into the warmth of his apartment. He clicked the TV off, it muttering the same news headlines from hours earlier. He should try to sleep again, there was work in the morning, but instead, he settled into the couch. Still too restless. Now he picked at the loose fabrics of his homely couch, his thoughts returning to memories of bright eyes and gold strands of hair. He had memorized, the way the hairs laid, the way those eyes looked for each emotion, each way their body twisted. It kept him sane enough for the moments they were apart.
He pretended they were there, looking down on him from their standing position. Their body told him that they thought he had lost it, being saddened by a paint chip, but it was also slightly coated with pity, over the emptiness he felt. He imagined them sitting beside him, staying with him, until he drifted away into the safety of unconsciousness. He could feel where their arms should be around him, where he was resting against them, and maybe he had lost it, imagining people doing things they wouldn't normally do, but he was comforted. Enough so that his eyes slid down, his body relaxing into the contours of his sofa, the imagery he had thought up flickered and faded, but exhaustion brought him down. He couldn't fight it any longer; his subconscious finally gave into his conscious' pleading and allowed him sleep. And in the morning, he was late for work.