I sit here, near to the front door, waiting for the postman to present me with an ink-smudged letter from you. It might be flawed, ever so slightly, from your left-handed penmanship, but I've always found the imperfections are what give it character. When it eventually arrives, I slice the envelope open into jagged, torn edges, like when you try to tear out a magazine page and end up cutting off a quarter-inch of the typeface. I carry your intimate thoughts with me as I stretch over the corner of the couch where the last rays of today fall in through the window, and travel with you into a world of words.
I’m writing to tell you that I live in New York now. Officially. Though I lived in New York before— officially then, too— it still doesn’t feel natural to say out loud. I guess this time around is different — entirely different — because there’s no turning back if I want to. Before I lived and had fun, and now I have to live and survive — a learning process and a growing process that I’m ready for and also not ready for at all. Saying all that makes sense when I think it to myself on long walks/riding the subway/shopping at the bodega, so I hope that it makes sense to you, too, whoever you are.
The rain was heavy on the morning I arrived, carrying with me two fifty-pound suitcases and a shoulder bag brimming with cookbooks and novels and literary magazines. At 9am, my housemate, a seemingly nice enough Russian/27/Event Planner passed off a new set of keys left by the tenant, an American/29/Moved-To-LA-To-Find-Myself-But-Don’t-Know-If-I’ll-Like-It. The apartment lease is ‘a two months and then we’ll see’ situation, a trend among the other fleeting aspects of my life, namely work contracts and men. Though, of course, I’d much rather all of those things were stable and none of them were temporary. I organized all one hundred plus pounds of life within the first hour: coordinated my sweaters, shirts, jackets by color in the closet, hung up a San Francisco Farmer’s Market calendar, and other tedious details you attend to when you first move somewhere new.
After I unpacked, I ran downstairs into the rain without an umbrella. I ran and ran with the wind in my face to the nearest grocery store. Everyone was speaking Russian. I started writing a story in my head about how much time alone I would spend writing stories in my head. My thoughts moved from elation to angst to indifference and then re-circulated again and again; I can never figure out what it is about New York that makes you feel a million different feelings in the shortest amount of time.
If you need to write me, I’m located directly off of the G train at Nassau Ave, or the L when it’s bearable enough weather to walk eleven minutes to the Lorimer stop. Four stories up, a stone’s throw from 5 Leaves and The Manhattan Inn and McCarren Park is an artist’s nest filled with small shrubs and navajo decor. When a New Yorker sees my new home they say, “Wait, THIS is your apartment?!?” whereas a tourist might say, “Wait, this is your apartment. . . .?” It’s small and colorful and mostly everything that I need. There are tranquil emblems that decorate the living room walls, and a quaint fire escape and no oven. The Russian leaves the kitchen untouched with minimal produce in the fridge, which is probably the truest of all signs that we are amidst the fast-pace that is this big city life. The apartment is certainly cozy, with the potential to be lonely — lonelier than anywhere I’ve ever lived.
In spite of all the excitement and movement towards this brilliant destination, I can’t help but wonder, every now and again, is this really the best decision? I mean, one day you’re laughing with friends at a bar, drunk off red wine, thinking about how man, there really is nothing quite like New York City, and the next night you’re sitting at your apartment, drunk off red wine, wondering what it means that you’re alone while millions of people are moving at the speed of light right outside of your window.
All of the faces that pass me by seem so intent and purposeful, because most personalities here will do whatever it takes to pursue their aspirations and careers against the odds. The young women, all beautiful, dressed in black. The young men, all beautiful, dressed in black. Everyone is always talking about how determined they are, or how worn-down they are by this persistent city. It feels like a constant fight upstream to search for the truly genuine ones who have only good intentions, but the other news is the more I start doing the things that I love the easier those people are to find and befriend.
So, friend, that’s just a little news about me. I suppose I’m just making any excuse to write my thoughts down as not to forget them when I move somewhere easy and slow years down the line. And now that I live here I’d love for you to visit me. I’ll show you my neighborhood and we can sit and talk for hours about how fast life is moving and how nice it is to just slow down to enjoy each other’s company — in the midst of this race-against-the-clock, wear whatever you want, drink as much as you like, spend too much money ‘cuz that’s what life’s all about, horn-honking, subway delayed, chaotic, unforgivable, irresistible New York City.