Under the tracks, within the exhumed gridiron skeleton of the mass-transit system, I stood and listened to the trains until they were conceptually reduced to a sequence of sounds. When one came screaming, ten or twenty or fifty-five minutes after the previous, it filled your head with the noise and pushed out everything else, one car after another rumbling across the rails, all other surrounding stimuli suddenly irrelevant and senseless, until you half-feared, half-hoped that the bridge would breathe a final exhausted sigh and rebury those old, weary industrial bones—

and then it was over. And then
you no longer knew what the big deal was, why this one moment felt like everything.

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