It’s been twenty days. Twenty days in this city. I originally planned on writing each day; of course I’ve failed this goal. Realistically, it would be impossible anyway. I write pages at a time when I do sit down with my computer. I often marvel at people who are able to write short posts. Sometimes I consider breaking my blogs into sections, like meals, one for breakfast lunch and dinner. It would be a bit odd though, having three blogs a day, just to avoiding gorging the reader. Instead, I’ve come to terms with scrawling thoughts…
The roads glistened from the fallen mist, and the city lights reflected off the streets like freshly polished dressed shoes. I’ve come to enjoy my commute home. It allows me the time to relax after work and lose myself in the passengers beside me on the train. One woman kept her eyes closed the whole way to her stop. It must have been 50 blocks. It amazed me that she was able to shut it all out for so long. There’ve been times I’ve attempted to, but I am always drawn to the different faces. Hers was a deep caramel color. She had soft eyebrows that arched like seagull wings high above her closed eyelids. I tried to memorize this face, realizing that I would most likely never see it again. It’s a habit I’ve taken to. Embedding people’s images into my mind. Storing them away for no specific purpose other than to recall them occasionally.
Yesterday, after my first day at work, I met a man while waiting for the bus. It was 1 a.m., too late for me to be greeting strangers, but I’ve failed to forget my Midwestern manners. I’d been waiting for close to ten minutes when I finally relented and sat down on the bench to rest my feet. It was the coldest night I’ve had in New York so far. There were taxies passing by every few minutes and expensive cars–Porsches and jags, waiting at the stoplight. We were the only two people who were still willing to take public transportation at that hour.
“Do you live around here?” I asked.
“Me, no,” he said. “You?”
“No. But, I was just wondering if it was like this every night.”
Despite it being late, it was busy. Girls in leather pumps and black tights crossed the street, tightly squeezing the arms of their boyfriends.
“Yeah. It’s pretty crazy. It’s cold, you know. So I come here to relax.”
“What? That’s doesn’t make much sense to me,” I said.
“I’m a bouncer at this club over there on 13th. I’ve gotta stand outside all night anyway. I’ll be out till 5 a.m. So I just come here to unwind for a while.”
“So how long you been here?”
“I saw you. I thought you were pretty, but I didn’t want to say anything cause I didn’t want you to think I was some late night crazy.”
“I wouldn’t think you were crazy for calling me pretty. Sitting at a bus stop in the cold though…”
“You ain’t got no gloves.”
Before I can finish my sentence he starts to take his own off. “Here. Take these. A gift from me.”
“No. No. I’ll be fine. I’ll keep my hands in my pocket.”
“No,” he said. “Here.”
“Thank you,” I said and accepted his gloves “That’s very unlike a New Yorker.”
“I know. Don’t go being nice to everyone,” he said.
“No. I usually try to be as heinous as possible.”
“There’s your bus.”
I stood to leave.
“I hope I see you again. What’s your name?”
“Maggie. What’s yours?”
“Man. Hey, our names start with the same letter.”
“Yeah, they do.” I laughed, and then turned to climb on the bus.
He waved as the bus drove away.
I work on 13th street too. Saturday was my first night at a restaurant called Marcelleria’s. Hosting brings in 12 bucks an hour. The tips for taking people’s coats amounted to $100 that night though. I may be sacrificing my weekend , but the work is an unconventional form of entertainment. A woman came in that looked like Melissa Ethridge. She had a straightforward look. Confident, like a man’s. When I used the restroom later in the evening I saw her come out of the one marked “Gentleman’s”. I wonder if it was Melissa Ethridge.
After all the customers are done eating, the server’s, busers, runners, manager, and owner–who all happen to be Albanian, get together and eat dinner. There’s a huge bowl of pasta and a platter of chicken passed around. I sat, the only female, reveling in my first bite of meat in a few weeks. I could hardly make sense of their conversation, their accents were so thick, but it didn’t matter. It was a group meal. I smiled the whole time I ate. Content in the familial activity.
This morning I went to church on Park Avenue. I never imagined I would ever write a line like that. Anyway, it was pretty cool. The pastor made a smart sermon, and the people seemed down-to-earth…
I was wondering on the walk home, what would it be like if you didn’t meet one of the people you’re close to. Think back about those experiences, the connections made through their relationship, the good times gone and the bad times never lived… can you imagine?