Good To Me

by Jen on February 23, 2012

On this night, The Empire State Building shined in orange and blue, honoring former New York Met, Gary Carter.

I unhook the loop used to tie back the living room curtains, made with love by my mother-in-law.  Blue fabric falls into position, shielding our apartment from the lights of the Upper East side.  I spread a thin layer of chapstick on my lips before throwing the yellow cylinder back into the kitchen junk drawer that also houses my iPod.  Plunking the earbuds into my ears, I swipe through playlists until I find the one that matches my mood.

Upbeat.  Adventurous.  Optimistic.

I zip my coat, kennel the dogs, and exit our apartment.

Skipping down three flights of stairs, I feel my anticipation mounting.  I feel this way all the time, if I’m being honest.  The moment my boots hit the stained streets of New York City, I’m pretty sure I can do anything.

I walk quickly.  I always do, unless I’m with George, in which case I hook his arm and take my sweet time.  But tonight, I’m meeting him.  I will walk to Lexington Avenue.  I will board the 6 to 59th, then the N to 49th.  I will walk seven blocks, through the magic of Times Square where I will meet him, still in a tie, adorably in a tie, after a long day of Human Resources.

Michael Jackson provokes me.  He thumps through my ears, causing me to change the cadence of my steps.  I’m sure I look silly.  Completely unnatural.  But I have never felt the music more.  It is no coincidence he shuffled his way into the forefront of my playlist.  Tonight is a night made for “The Man In The Mirror”.

This winter is kind.  Tonight, I leave my coat unzipped more than usual, allowing a hint of the cool breeze to remind me I no longer live in Florida.  The streets between 2nd and 3rd Avenues are uncommonly still.  I pass the stoops of gorgeous brownstones and wilted ivy-braided iron gates.  The amber street lights cast a nine foot tall shadow on the sidewalk in front of me.  I look thin when I’m stretched that tall.  I want this shadow to be with me always.

The City’s trees have no leaves.  Green is uncommon this time of year.  I scan sidewalks for dog shit and skyscrapers for inspiration.  I breathe deeply, ignoring the exhaust fumes and isolating the smells of hot dogs and Halal and chestnuts and flower shops on the corner.

I appreciate.

I absorb.

As I approach the subway, I instinctively unzip the front pouch of my purse, feeling for my metro card.  I used to be so clumsy.  I used to forget where I kept it.  I’d panic.  Wallet?  Jeans pocket?  Coat?  Camera bag?  Now, it has a home.

Like me.

I disappear into the underworld of The City.  It is rush hour.  Busy.  Chaotic.  Crowded.

My iPod doesn’t let me down.  John Mayer greets my ears, bringing charm to the hysteria.  I swipe my card and glide through the turnstile like I belong.  The tunnel roars as my train approaches.  The bells chime.  The doors open.  Commuters spill onto the platform, stepping on my toes and elbowing their way to the exit signs.  When the congestion seizes, I enter the train, surprised to find an empty seat near an elderly Asian man who appears to have fallen asleep.

I lean my head back, clutching my purse resting on my lap, just in time for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros to sing to me.  In lightening speed, this train circumvents the traffic paused above me.

One train transfer and fifteen minutes later, I arrive at our restaurant.  I remove the cords dangling from my ears, silencing Jay Z’s “Encore”.  My George, in his tie, his adorable tie, waits for me outside.  He grabs my face, touching the chilly tip of his nose to my cheek, and kisses me.

On this day, this city has been good to me.

On this day, I don’t ever want to leave.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Buff February 23, 2012 at 8:16 am

This inspired post was truly inspirational!
Like your real-life writing and your fiction writing effed and made this beautiful bloggy baby!
Just intense and serene and buzzing and beautiful all at the same time… you are blossoming, my friend. I love you and NY!

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2 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thank you, Buff. I felt really excited to post this one. It's one I literally wrote in my head that night. I need to start carrying around a voice recorder. Surely my smart phone can do that shiz, right?

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3 christina February 23, 2012 at 9:53 am

awesome. lovely. beautiful. you paint such a great and pretty damn accurate picture of NYC.

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4 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thank you! I love this place every day, but some days…. gurrrrrl…. I'm all twisted up in it.

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5 alison February 23, 2012 at 10:05 am

Here's the deal, you need to write a book. Because I'm so excited to read read read and then it ends (sweetly) and I take a deep breath, smile for your happiness, and long for more to read. xo

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6 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I dream, Alison. I dream. My blog is helping to build my confidence. So one day. I hope. And if it ever happens, I'm gonna force you to buy six copies. Somebody has to support my chai tea latte habit! 😉

My frame didn't come today, by the way. I'm so pissed!

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7 alison February 24, 2012 at 10:42 am

I will be buying a dozen copies, and you will have to sign them all…

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8 Alison l MWT February 23, 2012 at 10:15 am

I love your NYC posts, makes me feel like I'm right there with you.

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9 mamamash February 23, 2012 at 10:52 am

I know what it feels like to have those romantic moments with a new place. 🙂

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10 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I bet you do!!! I hope you have many more of those very soon! I hope your unpacking wasn't miserable today.

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11 Runnermom-jen February 23, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Jen, what a long way you've come in just a short time!! I remember your first stories of the city, and now look at you!! This was beautiful, and I almost felt like I was walking beside you 🙂

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12 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:32 pm

I know. It's really crazy to think of how foreign it all seemed not two months ago. I guess that just goes to show that people are extremely adaptable creatures. Go humanity!

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13 Rach DonutsMama February 23, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I don't think you're ever going to leave. You seem so settled now.

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14 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:36 pm

It's almost like I've been on a countdown to leave ever since I arrived. Like I'm almost in a rush to fit it all in because I know my time is limited. I can imagine this would be what it might feel like to be a military family or something. I can't imagine raising kids here. Having a baby would be such a challenge, I think. Millions of moms do it, but it seems soooo complicated.

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15 Rose February 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

Fabulous post Jen – (I did feel like I was there) I am amazed you weren't looking over your shoulder………… :))

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16 Jen Has A Pen February 23, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I feel so totally safe here. I worried I might feel nervous about walking alone at night, but I don't. Honestly, I feel safer here than in Tallahassee. Strange, right? I think it's that there are always people on the street. Witnesses, ya know. 🙂

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17 Kristy,Pampers&Pinot February 23, 2012 at 9:37 pm

What a tribute to the city! A love letter. Makes me want to be there.

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18 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:33 pm

This city is delicious! No doubt. I feel so lucky to experience it- even if it won't be forever.

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19 Kimberly February 23, 2012 at 9:51 pm

You created such beautiful imagery…felt like I was walking with you…and now I want to put on some MJ 😉

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20 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:34 pm

He's such a mood setter, that Michael. No joke, it was like I was walk/dancing. 🙂 Thank god it was New York. Nobody pays attention to anybody else. 🙂

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21 Lance February 23, 2012 at 11:00 pm

I love NYC. I miss it. Thanks for the peek.

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22 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:35 pm

It's such an amazing place. I wake up every day and think, "Am I still here? Oh, good. I thought I was dreaming." 🙂 Did you live here at one point?

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23 Lance February 26, 2012 at 12:39 pm

worked there for six months (loooong story) been there many times. It's my second favorite place after Atlanta.

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24 logyexpress February 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm

You make me want to move. I have gotten used to where I live, but don't love it.

This was lovely. I write posts in my head all the time too (especially when running). Unfortunately, even when I have access to a way to document what's in my head, it always loses something in the translation from my brain. I'm not a natural writer, I'm a thinker.

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25 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I felt that way about Tallahassee. I didn't dream we'd ever leave there because George was so connected. I like it, but didn't love it. I feel like I barely know NYC and I'm ready to get married to it for life. 🙂

I recently discovered a voice thing on my Droid that helps me jot down some thoughts. It's become pretty handy a time or two, although people stare at me when I use it. Whatever. 🙂

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26 Sarcasm Goddess February 24, 2012 at 6:08 pm

I am in love with this post, as I am in love with NYC. You did such an incredible job of describing it. I felt like I was right there with you. Whenever I visit I keep my metro card in the front pouch of my purse too! The other night the hubs and I were at dinner and I was digging through my purse for a band aid. I pulled out all kinds of crap, but no band aid. Then I unzipped the front pouch…and pulled out my metro card. I have absolutely no use for it here in FL, but I couldn't let it go – my way of holding on to the city that I love!

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27 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:44 pm

I totally know what you mean! I've been saving our Playbills and documenting the most mundane things because I don't want to forget a single detail of our experience here. I'll never part with my metro card. That dude and I have been through a lot together. 🙂 He's gotten me lost and gotten me found a bajillion times over.

I forget that you live in Florida. What part? Central?

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28 Katie February 24, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Beautiful. How can something with so much movement and people and dirtiness also be so beautiful? You write the New York I dream of. I used to dream of moving there. Now, I dream of just having the amazing opportunity to visit. One day I'll make it, and I'll look you up when I do.

LOVED this line: "I scan sidewalks for dog shit and skyscrapers for inspiration." Pure poetry.

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29 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:48 pm

It's such a strange juxtaposition. It's gorgeous because of the dirty. Weird, right? I've never liked old homes. Victorian really isn't my thing. I don't like thrift shops or antiques, but there is something so amazing and charming about the grime and history of the city. I could truly inhale it. I was really happy with this post.

I hope you do make it here someday. It's not for everyone. I'm such a homebody. I don't like crowds. And I like modern, minimalist stuff. But for whatever reason, this place works for me. It's a writer's playground. If you've ever got a mad case of writer's block, come here for a weekend. It'll cure what ails ya.

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30 Sweaty February 24, 2012 at 10:38 pm

Home is where your heart is, and I think you've indeed fallen in love with the city, Jen 😉 There's no place elsewhere quite like NYC.

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31 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:50 pm

In a way, it's bittersweet. I've fallen so deeply in love, yet I know we won't live here forever. It won't make sense for the long haul, but for now, girl, you can believe I'm eating it up.

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32 @B4Steph February 25, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hi Jen, Lovely evocation of your adopted city. I felt like I was dogging your footsteps. I love NYC and don't get there often enough. Nice to live vicariously through your post. Nice ending, too. Sweet George.

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33 Jen Has A Pen February 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

It's pretty amazing. I have only been here since December, so when the Spring rolls around, and the trees are full and green, I think I'll fall in love all over again. Thank you for reading!

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34 Bonnie Berg February 28, 2012 at 11:48 am

I am so happy for your happiness in your marriage and in your new home 🙂

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