"Hey buddy watch it!"
I scowl at the stranger brushing by and shove my hands deeper into my pockets. I drop my head down and let the hood of my dark sweatshirt block the rest of the world out as I grip the dead IPod tighter.
Silence sings up through the wires and rings in my headphones, blocking out all other outside chatter with the noiseless buds. I sigh deeply as the busy clamor fades and I feel myself slipping into the darkness.
I welcome the quit with waiting arms, relief spreading through me as the white noise of New York City fade.
"Hello again," the wind whispers into my ear, moving around the ear bud in order to be heard.
I giggle and tuck my chin into my collarbone, "Hello."
"Are you ready?" it asks with a soft voice, playing with my wispy, chestnut strands of hair.
I swallow hard and brace myself for the onslaught; this is always my least favorite part.
"Yes it is a terrible feeling, but someone has to do it. Someone has to give those people the time of the day and care," it tells me, reading into my thoughts.
I stand with my sky blue eyes closed for a few moments, letting the peace settle over me before opening my lids, "Alright, I'm ready."
The wind whisks away with a start, running though out the world and picking up the sorrowful words. I take a shallow, calming breath as it dutifully rounds the brokenness together.
All at once the breeze rushes forward, replaying every shatter promise, every simple unheard, "I'm sorry" and every heartfelt cry into my ear. The times when you are too late to tell that one person you love them or the moment you release you can't go back echo inside my head. A lone tear falls to my cheek and soaks into the ground as I shudder internally.
"That's all of them for today," it says in despair.
I shiver at the intensity of the experience and cross my arms. "You never did tell me where all this sadness comes from?" I ask in curiosity.
"It comes from the people who have no one. The people who mutter something into the wind when they don't want anyone else to hear. The people who tell their loved ones 'I'm sorry' after they already stormed away or the people run outside to hide and let themselves break down. A part of my job is to gather their words and bring them to someone who cares," it explains quietly.
` I nod and thrust my chin into the air, heading out to meet the lonely people and tell them it's okay, that someone did hear them. The white noise begins to bubble again, the sounds of a never sleeping city growing louder by the second.
"Thank you," I mutter into the open sky as the people around me return to their normal pace.