I was running on the treadmill in the gym on the 19th floor of my building. The gym was empty and silent except for the muted drone of corner mounted TV showing a soap opera. That and the slap of my feet as I ran ran ran, the gentle but determined whir of the treadmill’s machinery which was punctuated by a creak every time my foot landed.
I have a view of Manhattan’s midtown from where I run, skewed from the west side, and can see the Empire State Building rising up in the center of a mass of other skyscrapers that would be impressive in anybody else’s company. The whole jungled mass of it is brown stone and concrete gray, interspersed with the occasional glass sheeted interloper.
The sun has been setting earlier and earlier each day, and the whole city was already sheeted in shadow. In a few moments the sun would dip out of view altogether, and I would be running in the twilight from my aerie above the city. Everything was gloomy and gray except for a single aeroplane which was silently inching towards the sun. It was high enough to be catching the last rays of light, and as such its blunt nose was burnished scarlet and pink, and in contrast to the dull, dusky city below, it was a vivid object, more real and vital than anything else.
I ran in silence, up in the gym, watching the plane. A couple was arguing indistinctly on the TV behind me, and the tread mill was whirring and creaking. And then, even as I watched, the plane was snuffed of light and color, like a candle flame that has been blown out, and it to was relegated to the gloaming.