It seemed like New York, but on Dream, it could've been any other grotty conclave of run down shops and restaurants and tenement houses, dirty, with big windows, swirling painted letterforms of old, damp, grimy streets, but the sun was shining.
I walked along, seemingly lost, past one window and another, until I reached a bike shop. From the front, it looked closed, so I continued walking, around a round corner. The back was open and inside stood a bald man, Gandhi-esque but gruff, in a dingy white shirt, white Van Dyke bristling slightly, skin like creased umber leather, maybe a cigarette burning somewhere in the background.
Somehow I convinced him (though it was closed? I don't really know) to let me clean the tires of a red bicycle. He let me borrow it, take it for a spin. I rode, freedom on wheels, through the dingy alleys, wind fanning my hair out behind me, lost in the fun of it, the remembrance of being a kid and doing just this thing, but in some suburban setting instead. Wandering far from the shop, I almost didn't find my way back, but did.
As I left the shop, I was again lost and penniless, searching for a subway train, oddly huge, I realized I didn't have the money to get on. I came across a deserted pay phone. In it was a letter from a crush I haven't seen in over a decade. The letter contained 14 dollars, enough for me to get home on the huge train, somehow left for me with some impossible knowledge that I'd be there to collect it.
"Sunlight on chrome, the blur of the landscape, every nerve aware."
- Lee, Lifeson, Peart