Before I moved to the city, I would often look at a map of the crossroads, intersecting streets, and misshapen squares of park as a blank canvas. I pictured myself in a fabulous black Vera Wang dress in a corporate office with 7 cell-phones and an email inbox with 4,000 unread messages. I pictured fresh manicured nails typing away on keyboards, and people knocking on my corner office, knees locked in, sweat dripping from their forehead scared shitless to talk to the boss lady (moi). I looked at the map and narrowed my focus onto cute little apartments in West Village made of brownstone. That’s where I’m going to live with my boyfriend I thought. We will have a huge golden retriever and take her on walks and drink coffee at cute hipster coffee shops and read the news and hold hands and be in love forever in this marvelous city called NY.
The reality of New York has been very different.
I spent a lot of my first job running around the city in small black heels. I spent a lot of my second job eating at my desk and sobbing on the 2 train on my way home. And as for love? That was over.
Now when I walk around the city it’s no longer the hopeful colorful blank canvas it once was. Now it’s the bar where so and so threw up last weekend. The bar where I took a guy home only to never hear from him again. The office building that makes me cringe and look in both directions. Bryant park, the once beautiful place I would take my lunch breaks which is now where I broke the love of my life’s heart, and my own. Stomped it to pieces. Fed it to the damn pigeons. It has been too hard to write about even though it has been a year. I miss the days when the city was just an empty map. When Bryant park was the one place I could go to with nature. I get nauseous and dizzy when I walk by that damn park. Why couldn’t we have broken up in Harlem? Or somewhere I never go?
Slowly, I’m making new memories over the old ones. It’s the only way I can move past my sadness. That bar where my friend threw up? Yeah, now it’s the bar where we danced on platforms all night until my legs buckled in. The bar where the guy ghosted me? Oh yeah, now that’s the bar where we sang Kendrick Lamar and shook our asses. That office building where I hated who I was every waking second? Yeah, now it’s the place where everybody else hates their lives every single second. Bryant Park? Now it’s the park where somebody else kissed me while we drove by in a Mercedes Benz as I thought about how funny this city is.