Alive is relative.
He wonders what it is that makes him sure that he is alive. What it is that proves his existence to the world and himself. His immediate response is the city that he lives in, the city that he breathes and lives every day.
But it isn't. The city makes him feel dead. The city reminds him that there is no such thing as special. The city reminds him that even in a crowd of hundreds of people, there is still no one to talk to.
He rides the train hearing nothing but his iPod, being alive with the rest of the plugged-in creatures. Some days he stands, some days he sits. He does not make eye contact with anyone for more than a few seconds and he most definitely does not speak to anyone.
He is alive, but is he living?
The plant that sits on his desk and the fish that doesn't move more than an inch a day are alive. He realizes that the woman who never leaves her apartment and the man who does nothing but work away in his office are alive too.
Yes, they are all alive, but are they living?
When he walks home at night, he slips the earbuds back into his bag and stares up at the sky. The stars form constellations and shapes and worlds. He rises above the man in the office and the woman in her house to become part of something bigger and better.
He smiles as he faces the sky and a whisper escapes his lips.