The Night We Were Young and Infinite


There is an unparalleled amount of laughter amongst us. Our stomachs are aching and we are losing air. Our sentences are interrupted with bursts of giggles, an unequal amount for the trivial stories that first amused us. Now we are impressionable, entertained by the slightest gestures. Someone falls and it’s the funniest act the rest of us have ever seen. We can’t stop laughing and strangers begin to join us. We forgot how it all started but continue on with the hysteria.

It’s one of those nights, the nonsensical and directionless kind. We don’t have exact plans, not even a blueprint of where we are headed. We’re just on the bus hoping one of its stops will speak to us. We can’t help it though. We are just kids of instinct always looking for a sign, whether handed down or self initiated. We like to believe in some element of fate, of our decisions and actions “feeling right.” Even when we exert independence, our rebellious front that we are the captains of our souls, capable of steering our own lives, we still fall prey to our childish fears of doubt and apprehension. And the only way we know how to combat these fears is to rely on affirmations. We need approvals and reassurances, both from others and ourselves, that our navigation of life has some validity.

And the navigation of this night is no different. We abstain from responsibility in the hope someone else can bear its weight. We can’t even handle the banal task of deciding on a destination. We survey the strangers on the bus until one of us finds the will to choose. We hear competing opinions on what establishments are the relevant ones and from this selection, one of us blindly chooses. We exclaim in relief and in joy. Finally we have the knowledge of where the night is headed, a knowledge that is trivial in its significance but powerful in its ability to reassure our uncertainty.

The bus turns the corner and onto a bridge, the transitional marker between where suburbia ends and the city begins. Legal jurisdictions might define it as one entity, but we can see the distinctions. It’s not all the same. The outsides of downtown are reminiscent of the greater suburbs the people in the city abhor. This part of the city is just overpriced aged houses mimicking their distant cousins in the surrounding municipalities. We don’t understand the delusion nor can we afford it. We are just the night crawlers who occasionally visit.

We can see it now, downtown. Its allure grows as the bus inches forward and we reach a stop. Is it our stop? No one really knows. We’re too distracted by excitement. We step off the bus and onto the streets. It’s a chaotic scene before us. There are so many people. Their movement surrounds us in all directions. People cross streets where there are no crosswalks, their caution weathered by intoxication. There’s noise everywhere, an unfettering laughter amongst the crowds not unlike our own. We are still giggling as we begin to walk down the street. We link arms in pairs, the philosophy of the buddy system engrained from childhood.

Our destination is close, a few blocks really but it appears distant to us. Maybe it’s because we are strolling, not walking. Our strides are limited by the mixture of the crowds that enclose us and our own inefficiencies. We are half adults, half children, some purgatory breed with the physical attributes that foreshadow adulthood but with the internal psyche of a child. We don’t possess the rationality to move quickly. Instead, we are impeded by our own fists of laughter. We are at that state where everything is just so amusing. Every moment is lengthened by our blissful ignorance until we reach our destination or what would be one of many this night. We didn’t have an end in mind; we just kept going from one establishment to another. We are consumed by spontaneity and the indecisiveness defined in our early 20’s.

Some say this city is unremarkable, lifeless compared to the liveliness of others. Maybe this is true; maybe this city lacks character and virtue. But like us, this city is young and with infancy comes many shortcomings and uncertainties. Other cities may be aged with history, but on this one night, our city never looked so bright, its parade of lights never so promising. Our city is undefined by potential, as are we. And on this infinite night, amidst the continuous laughter and impulsive decisions, we realized our worth – the vastness of our youth immortalized in blithe and carefree moments.