25 December 2013


Christmas morning, early. 

It's still dark - as dark as it can be in a big city - and as silent as ever I have heard this city. I stand in the middle of the street, listening. The only thing I can hear is the echoing bell sound of the wind chimes on our porch. I can't decide if the utter stillness is eerie, in a city this size, or peaceful. 

When my cab driver arrives, he tells me that he lived in this very house when he first moved to town 13 years ago, and the city seems  much smaller. 

We talk about the East Coast, where he came from, and the Midwest. His route to the airport is faster than that of the guy who drove me last time, and involves a street I've never seen that suddenly connects with the street I always take: a shortcut I never knew, and I'm learning a month before I leave. 

"It's never felt like home here," he says, "even though I've been here a long time."

"It's always felt like home to me, but family trumps in the end," I tell him. 

I give him a big tip, because it is Christmas and he saved me $8 even wih the tip on the faster route. 

I'm through security less than 30 minutes after I called for the cab. It's 4:15 am, and the only thing to do is find the bucks of star, where maybe a chai can compensate for the two hours of quasi-sleep I got last night. 

The barista cheerfully wishes me a merry Christmas at 4:30 am, with the line for coffee stretching out the door. 

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