Many nights I walk through Union Square on my way home. For some inexplicable reason, I consider it a treat to cut through the square, rather than walk on the sidewalks bordering it. I generally will only cut through the square late at night, when the hustle and bustle of the tourists are gone.When I’m likely to be the only one there.
At each corner of the square, there is a heart of San Francisco, a large heart sculpture painted by a different artist. Tonight I noticed a new one had been installed, midnight blue with beautiful white flower stalks arching over it. I watched tourists pose in front of it, giggling and making hearts with their hands. It was a tiny reminder of how lucky I am to walk past the hearts every day.
I continued across the wide plaza, empty of the cafe tables and chairs or art vendors that are often there during the day. Walking across the plaza, surrounded by towering department stores with their windows aglow, I love the city. I love the stillness, the emptiness of the square at night, when no one is there. I love the flatness of the square, the greyness, the smoothness of the stone. When I walk diagonally across the square, I’m starring in my own version of That Girl, taking place in San Francisco rather than New York.
As I exit the other corner of the square, my favorite trumpet player is playing. I intentionally slow my pace in order to miss the light. I stand at the corner, listening to his soulful notes echoing through the still night air. Oh, San Francisco, once again, you’ve captured my heart.