I spent a rainy day in Manhattan yesterday. There's something about New York in the rain that feels right. In the sun, the buildings show all of their scars. Under grey skies, with torrents of rain spilling over their unique ledges onto the mob of angry umbrellas--destined to be left in a graveyard of broken wires and torn fabric at subway entrances all over the city by the end of the day--the grey and silver buildings seem alive in the darkness and all of its secrets are exposed in the glow of electricity.
Manhattan is a labyrinth I've wondered often. Living on the island one needs to etch out certain corridors and explore them systematically. On rainy days, you need to have safe houses, scattered in each of neighborhood. You need places to kill time because in Manhattan, making your way slowly is always the smarter move than going for the mad dash through the wet sidewalks.
When I was there yesterday, I happened to end up around Washington Square. This is the first area I ever got to know when I moved to the city and luckily one of my safe houses still exists. I ended up at Generation Records, the first record store I went to after moving to the city 17 years ago. It still looks exactly the same. It was like being in a video game and going back to a section of the story you haven't been to in a long time.
I started thinking about the city in this way for the rest of the day and how you can follow a path of your memories like ghosts as you walk through the streets. It's strange how a place can transport you back in time. Memories play so much clearer when you're in the place where the memories belong. On rainy days, they seem closer to the surface and easier to return to for some reason.
I played a lot with this concept in the manuscript I just finished, Afterworld. I realize now that it was just another one of my abstracted ode's to the city where I learned to write.