But with the shared loneliness comes shared kindness. Now the small child curled up on the couch hugs his stuffed animals a little more tightly, and the teenager exiting the deserted subway station talks to his friend a little more quietly, and the tired hands of the father caress his daughter’s hair a little more gently. Now the husband and wife, strained by a trying day at work, crouch by the fireplace and speak to each other in soft and soothing voices. Now the brother lights the fairy lights in his bedroom to achieve a small sense of comfort, and his sister comes in and they sit together watching the lights change color for a long time. It is now that, free for a fleeting moment from the fierce competition of everyday life, the people of the world allow themselves to be gentle.

The sky grows dimmer and dimmer. Lone city lights begin to twinkle: first one, then the other, until the pilot is able to see thousands of glittering lights below him. In each of those buildings and houses, fires are extinguished as people prepare for bed. Tomorrow, they resolve, they will begin again.

%d bloggers like this: