Creatures of the City

By Rawan Olma

            Your arms flew across the crisp, cool Chicago air in fluid motions, painting stories out of nothing but a sequence of blurred ups and downs . With every laugh and every word said, your soul opened to me like a window, letting sunlight through even on the coldest of days and unlatching a whole new world before me- so vulnerable and free. There are few things in the world that compare to moments like these. Our feet moved quicker than our minds could keep up, like the uneven pavement was our only friend. There was so much to see, so much to do, so much to say. We yearned to be everywhere at once, to breath in every last bit of the city. Our eyes, glistening bright with astonishment, darted from tower to tower, from stranger to stranger. Blinking was a crime and we didn’t want to be guilty of missing a single thing; we didn’t want to forget a single detail. Not the coffee that somehow seemed to taste a little bit sweeter here as we took short sips of it while our determined, brisk strides crossed the bustling city streets. Not the stars that seemed to shine a little brighter here, even when they were only flickering neon signs. Not the songs that seemed to be sung a little louder here, as if they were trying to compete with the city’s symphony of blaring honks and sirens.

            The mere 234 square miles was not enough for all the history etched into the streets that lay beneath our feet. Each crack and pothole a testament of the dizzying multitude of lives that have walked upon them: pulsing storybooks packing millions of faces and dreams scripted into tales of sorrows and mischief; heartaches and heartbreaks. A blur of people from all directions. College students questioning if all the money spent is paying for their dreams or their parents'. Street performers counting down how many more covers of “Here Comes the Sun” are required until they can afford to buy shoes that haven’t been worn in by someone else. Men in tattered clothes screaming that the world is ending only because theirs is falling apart before their eyes. Young girls that have fallen in love with faces behind television screens before they had learned to love the one behind the mirror. Endless stories and lives that couldn't be contained, forever spilling at the city’s seams.

            The power of the concrete jungle was mightier than that of our maybe’s. I’m not sure what is about busy streets and flashing billboards that changes a person into one that lives life monumentally. The type of person that gets a rush of  child-like glee at the candy store even when they once believed that nothing could soften the parts of them that the world had taken. The type of person that stays up til six in the morning just to run to the edge of the overpass and watch an undead city awaken from slumber beneath technicolor skies. 


  1. A romanticizing piece truly captivating what it feels like to think and feel a city.

  2. this was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. i am so in awe at how well written this is and how captivating and cathartic it truly is

  3. Rawan, you continue to amaze me. You make me want to live in the concrete jungle you describe.