The wind whipped at Rabieh as he emerged from the train station onto the bright streets.
It was a perfect scene: not a cloud was in the sky and the streets were alive. The centuries-old structures glowed softly with wisdom and subtle pride underneath the sun, while their newer counterparts sparkled and gleamed with youth.
He smiled, extended the suitcase’s handle and rolled it behind him as he quickly made his way through the crowd. His grin wouldn’t fade-in fact it only grew wider with every step. Fortunately, he wasn’t somewhere where people bothered to stop and scrutinize passersby, despite the balanced and easygoing pace of life. It was this paradoxical sense of public privacy that he missed the most about the north, namely how it held more value as an unspoken rule here than it did back in the south.
He passed a row of statues made from bronze and concrete, each more strange and captivating than the last. To his right was a massive, man-shaped object that was actually a tangled mass of babies; not too far away was what appeared to be a life-sized Monopoly set. Whatever the symbolism behind each opus was, he didn’t have the time to sit and contemplate.
The wind kept battering him and grew colder by the minute, but despite wearing only a long-sleeve shirt and a jacket he somehow remained warm. It might have just been the movement, it might have been the combined excitement of being back in Philadelphia and seeing his closest friends for the weekend. It didn’t matter. It would all be worth it: the ungodly 6 AM flight to the tin shack that was Trenton-Mercer airport, the mile-and-a-half hike to the train station, the nearly two hour-long train ride to City Hall.
He glanced back at the city’s center of power and paused, admiring its aged brilliance. The wind, however, wouldn’t have it with yet another tourist standing about and flailed at him, practically shoving him away from the sight. It didn’t matter. He felt welcome here.