Lying down, I wonder, Where is the usual stream of cars? No trucks pause below the window, their hydraulics puffing and groaning at the stoplight. There’s no misbegotten youth outside, yelling to each other, laughing, sometimes fighting. It’s as if, tonight, they’ve taken a vow of silence. No music from passing car radios or cell phones bursts into our apartment.
Sleep is like a velvet coverlet that we curl inside. Traffic doesn't start up at sunless autumn dawn. There is no beep-beep-beep of trucks backing up. We continue our dreams. No sound, floating on a silent cloud.
Our alarm clock going off, seems to be the only noise in the world. Outside, it’s still dark, and dark and still. Strangely, there’s no wind-like sound of cars driving past, no rumble of delivery trucks or street sweepers, or piercing sirens repeating their urgency over and over again to a thousand households. The quiet is the kind that follows snowfall in the countryside.
It’s so hard to leave the warm bed and the cushioned, soundless world around it. But we say "Good morning", and make up our minds to move. Our feet meet the floor with soft thuds. The cat calls out a short, sharp “Mrow” for breakfast. You turn on the radio. For once, we’re the ones putting sound into the dark world.
The following evening, the cars return, and the backing-up trucks, and the warning “Clang, clang, clang” of the buses. Voices call out from across sidewalks, our neighbors decide to have a late night music session.
Velvet sleep dissolves to cotton.
I think, maybe, that that inexplicable quiet night was the last one the boulevard will ever know.