I’m in the New York subway and I see a historical train car, decked out for Christmas. I’m ecstatic. This is the city I love, the city where I’ve convinced myself I’m going to settle down eventually. It sounds like I’m living the artist’s dream. Everyone wants to try New York.
NYC inspires a burst of creativity that is tremendous and sustained. It’s incredible how much I can create here in this place. I studiously avoid being a tourist and focus on being a “real” New Yorker, all while ignoring an undercurrent of unease. Being a real New Yorker also involves a sense of impermanence. I’m really just visiting, but I hope for a stable berth soon, soon. As soon as I’ve gotten everything figured out. I spend much time elsewhere, in other countries. I do not go see Lady Liberty, as I have seen her from afar and will always have the chance later. The next time I fly in.
That red bow on the engine deflects attention from the wounds of a metropolis that both inspires and terrifies me. I inhabit cafes with alarming regularity, not something I can truly afford, but I make it work. Skip breakfast and lunch, go have coffee, in Brooklyn no less. My favourite is a cafe where they do pourovers. I choose the least expensive one, which is still 3.50. I wonder why it’s less expensive than the others as I eye the attractive hipster gentleman on display, taste-testing a hundred coffees in a special glassed-off room. Maybe he’s an actor, salary paid by the premium on the more expensive pourovers. I hipsterize with faux self-deprecation even as I forge new directions. Authenticity nearly wavers but I reestablish it as a New Year’s resolution. In 2015, I will be true to myself.
Soon I will leave New York. Then I’ll come back for a bit, only to leave again for the mountains of my home, then keep moving. I just keep moving. But one year ago, I do not know this. I look at this train and I think, how sweet. How much history. I love this city’s spirit. I live this city’s spirit. Why would I want to be anywhere else?
New York is strange. It sends you away, it calls you back. I still miss it terribly. Some days, I don’t miss it at all. But it’s found its way into my imagination, and in the short time I was there, it has changed the way I think and the way I live.
Some days, I feel I never left, and I have to look out my window to remind myself that time and space are related entities. So many places, so many times.
Time travel is difficult, but it is worth it.
Story © 2015 Clio Em
(Note on the title: When traveling through time, chronological order becomes less relevant.)