Steve didn’t know what scared him most—the screaming, “reeeeeeeeeeee,- reeeeeeeeeeee,” of the siren or the careening ambulance that almost knocked him down.
A bit shaken, he stepped back onto the curb. He’d wait for the next light.
Two-way traffic poured unto the boulevard, close enough for him to touch. Car stereos blasted pop, classical, and hip hop music; but the music only served as a backdrop to the cacophony of crashing construction cranes and pounding wrecking balls. At least three high-rise structures were rising out of dust, metal, and glass.
Steve let out a relieved breath. He was finally at the corner of Michigan and Chicago. He had wandered around, tripping over pedestrians, and straining to identify streets signs that would lead him to the Magnificent Mile. His journey had been made more difficult by idling delivery trucks lined-up on the side streets, alley to corner. It was hard to see the signs over their trailers.
Overhead, “L” trains rumbled and clanked down the gray tracks. The pealing paint on the girds wasn’t reassuring, but their rusted rivets appeared to be shouldering the responsibility, because they neither creaked nor swayed.
“HON-N-N-K- K, HON-N-K,” A horn sounded next to Steve and his heart jumped. A car had barely missed breaking a headlight as he cut over in front of another driver.
Traffic cops blew whistles and either bellowed, “stop”, or raised restraining hands. The cars slowed down. Two cops began a concert of movements that sent cars in several directions—intermittently, simultaneously, or both.
Steve smiled. The cacophony was settling into a rhythm.
He stepped off the curb with confidence. He had moved here for this. The hustle and bustle was a dramatic change from his hometown. His sister had said the city was an acquired taste and he was rapidly acquiring it.