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The wind whipped through the architectural monuments that stood proudly overlooking the city. The great heights at which I soared only gave me a bird’s eye view of their variously structured rooftops. In between each building, the narrow depths of manmade corridors ended in rows of vehicles that were caught in traffic and moving at a snail’s pace and, from this perspective, appeared just as small. The unmistakable smell of the gridlock below, mixed with the fouler stenches of the East and Hudson Rivers, carried through the cold and unforgiving breeze that tangled the locks of my hair as I continued to float over the city that I called home.
As I stretched out my arms before me, I closed my eyes and felt the icy gusts of wind sting my cheeks. When I opened them, the orange and red-hued shrubbery of Central Park greeted me in the morning light. With each blink of my eyes, I was suspended above a different area of the park: the Pond, the Carousel, Sheep Meadow, then finally, Strawberry Fields just adjacent to the Lake.
The Dakota, my apartment building, became the focal point of my destination as it sat nestled between W. 72nd and W. 73rd Streets along Central Park West in front of Strawberry Fields. The bluish-colored trim along the central windows of the top floor and the triangular gables of the rooftop stuck out in stark contrast against the autumn colors of the park the building faced. The closer I flew towards the building, the faster I traveled.
Hushed whispers swirled in the wind, and were inaudible to me as I strained to decipher what may have been a foreign language. I could hear the words repeated, but couldn’t quite figure them out. Then, the whisper became louder, more distinct.
“Abre los ojos.” It whispered.
“Open your eyes.” The disembodied voice repeated in English and more assertive than the whisper I’d been hearing. “Open your eyes.”
And then I wake up.
The early morning light filters through the open windows as my arm hangs off the side of my plush king-sized bed. I often have the same vivid dream of flying high above the city like some comic book hero my father’s company used to publish. It always ends the same way; with me awakening tucked firmly under a downy, warm duvet and one arm exposed to the chilly dawn air as my iPod alarm plays Snow Patrol’s “Open Your Eyes.” This morning is no different.