I suppose it was inevitable that I would one day find myself living in New York City. I seem to meet all important landmarks in my life with some degree of bemusement. Things happen mainly because I never really believed they would happen. And so I am unemployed, engaged and disoriented in New York.
I don't love this city. It is grim like nothing else I know, its joy is brittle, its promise disingenuous. It is a city for ruthlessness, broken hearts and pragmatism. I don't hate it either. The collective dreams of millions of people make the air thick with anticipation, heart beats are faster, love is rare but fierce when it sticks.
There is dark magic in the streets, an unsettling bite to the wind, a disturbing paranoia that there are many things unfolding all at once.
Down the street, the sun shines on pristine snow-covered sidewalks full of people carrying grocery bags bursting with produce and baguettes. A few steps away, you find yourself chasing dark shadows down an alley where men move swiftly, hands tucked in oilskin jackets, murmuring phrases you don't hear to people you don't trust. They shake hands surreptitiously, partaking in what you are convinced are street drug deals. A strange whistle emerges from a second-floor window and a man taps a car window, as if in acknowledgement. Not wanting attention, you shuffle quietly, quickly until once again, the sun breaks out on a playground next to your Lower East Side co-op where dogs and children run in circles and a fireman sings a spanish song. And you remember to breathe again.
I don't love it here, but I don't not.
When even veggie sellers know your name
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