Quiet Afternoon

22Jan12

DSC01787.jpgIt’s snowing in New York City today.

Sometimes, there are these little moments when I’m in awe that I live here. Mostly those moments come when the Q train is going over the Manhattan Bridge and it’s 7:00 in the morning and the sunlight is all gold and orange, and you can see the skyline, up close and yet far enough away to seem magisterial. Or when I’m walking somewhere historical, and I start to think about all the other people who walked this pavement before me fifty years ago, one hundred years ago, or earlier that same morning.

But I think that doesn’t say much other than I still like the idea of living here, but not necessarily actually living here. The actual logistics of living here are hard and make me feel unstable. I don’t have a community. I don’t have a job that’s leading anywhere. I don’t have any money. I miss my family.

I’m sure that somewhere down the line, I’ll feel grateful for this experience. It’s definitely exposed me to people and experiences that I would never have had in Denver. But it’s also reminded me of some cruel lessons, like: just because you’ve waited patiently for years for something that you’ve wanted to happen, that doesn’t mean that when you get it, it’s going to last very long or even be what you asked for. And I would rather have regrets about experiences I never had than regrets about not spending enough time with the people I love.

The other day at the store, a woman came in looking for long underwear. She was older, had an accent, was missing teeth, and in spite of the twenty degree weather was wearing sandals and socks. She said she’d loaned $10,000 to somebody who promised her a million in return, and he (predictably) absconded with her money. She also said that she refused to use laundry detergent because it soaks through your skin and gives you cancer. These are the people, the lonely people, that I think I’ll remember when I leave. In a city with so many millions, it amazes me that there can be so much loneliness.

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