Friday, October 18, 2013

today was a good day

falling in love with new york has been surprisingly hard. i came here a little disillusioned. i mean, life here is hard. new york can be pretty impenetrable. and my first few weeks...pretty miserable. ...and surprisingly dramatic. can someone say oi vey? preferably without threatening legal action. but that's a story for another time. because today? today was a good day.

i fell in love. 

people think new york is dark and dirty, uninviting, maybe imposing, with tall, cold buildings that block out everything. keep your head down, keep moving--but it's more than that. the hustle and bustle is there. for sure. but it's all...lively. supercharged. excited. frenzied. vibrant. alive. and i love it. 

i love the way sunlight dashes between the glass buildings, the light ricocheting down skyscrapers and across avenues, spraying a million colors and shades and shadows a million different ways. 

i love seeing an imposing new glass and steel tower next to a pre-war red brick walk up. with a gothic church thrown in for good measure. i love the metal and stone and brick and concrete, in a city so desperate for life they put a tree in random corners, the dirt puddling and leaves wilting on every muggy day.  

i love the yellow taxis and the black sedans and the fancy sports cars. i love that the city streets seem so crowded, i wonder where everyone parks and why anyone bothers with a car in the first place. 

i love brushing past crowded corners as tourists bundle together, a nervous crowd unsure where to go and unwilling to be the first to take a step.  i love seeing red city tour buses full of people taking pictures of random corners and buildings and people that they actually know nothing about, so removed from the reality of it. what they see and what i see is totally different, and i love that most of all. being the one looked at rather than the one looking in. 

i love the lights. the insaneness of how bright everything is even at night. how nothing seems to settle down, but everything is still inviting even in the dark.

i love how loud it gets. how on every street corner, someone is shouting. or a subway train rumbles under foot, steam rising from the ground. or the honking and the wailing and the rushing noise that fills the air. there's no quiet, but the rhythm still feels peaceful.

i love being pushed around by people so eager and ready and determined to get to their next destination. how every red light is a life crisis or a personal affront. there's a desperation to move, to never settle, and it's an energy that fuels the city. a constant pulsing down every block, every corner, every street.

i love the accents. the personalities. the nationalities. i love that everyone has a story completely separate from anyone elses' about how they got here or what they're doing or where they're from.  

i love the food. good heavens, the food. i've had waffles that melt in your mouth. lemon bars that make your toes tingle. cronuts--they taste like heaven. cupcakes. doughnuts. ice cream bars. rice crispy treats. frozen yogurt. popsicles. ...and repeat. everything so new and fresh and delicious. with so many options, it's less commercial or corporate. these are passion projects. from people who love food. and it pays off. 

i love that it's mid october and i'm still in short sleeves. fall in new york is beautiful. the coolness settles in slow, sneaking into the city day by day. everything feels crisper, but it's still wonderfully pleasant. it's like i've never experienced fall before. in utah, it comes fast and hard, suddenly dumping frost and snow...and then apologizing with a few weeks of muddled confusion. but here? it's 68 degrees and i'm still smiling. 

i love that i'm a part of it. coming here, i was kind of unimpressed with my story--small town girl from utah, unemployed and a little naive. it didn't seem that interesting. but the more people i meet, the more i realize--everyone has a story. and to make it out here? that's adventure. i'm glad i was a little stupid, buying a one-way ticket without really knowing what i was getting into. 

and i love that i'm out here now, struggling and striving and all that stupid stuff. i've met so many cool people. and new yorkers can be pushy and cold and impatient (hey, let's be honest, maybe that's why i fit in so well), but they are also loyal and proud and eager to let you into their lives. every time i meet someone new, i'm so excited. really, i'm always excited. because nothing is ever boring here. everything's an adventure. not always a good one, but an adventure nonetheless. 

i love that. 

i love that i feel settled here. that i don't always have to pull out my phone to navigate. that i have favorite corners to visit, or opinions on where to eat. that i feel comfortable wandering neighborhoods or getting home late.

there's a sense of home here that i never got in provo. every apartment i had in college, it felt temporary. unimportant. not mine. but here, i mean, i don't plan on staying in this one apartment forever...but it still feels like home. and i like it, being nestled between two subway stations so i'm close to everything, caught between two churches where i hear gospel choirs pouring their souls out each sunday, rooted in this crazy awesome city that has a way of sneaking up on you until you forget everything bad it ever did to you and you just feel, finally, like a part of something. 

because this city has its flaws. in fact, half of everything i just listed can get on my nerves at any given time. and don't even get me started on the centipedes. 


but it's like a moody toddler that way: you can't help but love it, even at its worst. and today? today wasn't bad. 

today was a good day. 

a very, very good day.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

because i have nothing else to say.

this is a story i wrote way back when i went to byu (so long ago) and was desperate to imagine up some drama in my life. sometimes (read: all the time) byu/provo/utah/mormon culture can feel very cookie-cutter, white-bread, all-too-predictable. i rebelled in strange ways, perhaps. my inner feminist came roaring up and never went away (praise the heavens). i fell in love with movies telling a different story (like Silver Linings Playbook or even The Grey). i fangirled over eminem and jay-z, pulsing to their music as if i could relate. i went to london and paris just to remind myself the world is a big, big place (fairly pretty, too). and i wrote dramatic stories that no one could relate to, just because I liked the idea of challenging...someone/thing. and this is the first go at it. adult language and all. 

Smoke and Shadows
I listen to them make love with sickened disinterest. They are all giggles and breathlessness tangled together, their bodies banging against the stall doors. I kneel on the ground, my body sprawled across the toilet, the vomit still boiling in the pit of my stomach. The tile is cold against my knees. The porcelain is hot under my arms. And the groans of the couple next door turn animal at the end.
            I hurl again.
            Finally, in a burst of loud laughs, they finish. He stumbles out of the stall. I hear him zip his pants. He doesn’t wash his hands. He just chuckles and leaves, not even bothering with a goodbye. The woman doesn’t seem to care. She lets out a dramatic sigh—something loud and reaching, high-pitched and final. And then she comes out, the stall door banging behind her.
I turn my head slowly to look under the door, watching her put her shoes back on, her knees slightly bent as she bounces on one foot, tucking her other into a narrow stiletto, almost tripping as she pulls the strap around her ankle. She laughs wildly, switching feet to put on the last shoe. 
And then I vomit again.
She stops laughing. I’m not watching—my head is buried in the basin of the toilet, my eyes closed shut against the sting of the flood of alcohol that has just betrayed me—but I hear her come closer. And then she knocks.
“You okay?”
I think I groan. Her laugh is uncomfortable.
“Sorry. I didn’t know anyone was in here.”
I roll my eyes, but I shouldn’t have. The dizzying motion makes me dry heave. She groans, a sympathetic noise echoing through the hollow room.
“Do you need anything?”
I groan again.
“Are you here with anyone?”
I suddenly think of their sweaty bodies rubbing against each other next door, the fastest five minutes barely climaxing. I wonder how many people have had sex in my stall. How many bodies contorted against the toilet, pressed to too-small walls. And I vomit again. But nothing’s left.
She pushes the door open and I’m surprised by how the light pours in. Even the music seems louder, pulsing through the bathroom walls sounding like a heartbeat tight against a chest. The sort of rhythm you’d hear after running—no, after making love, falling on each other and hearing the heart pound, the beat bouncing through you, becoming a part of you, actually absorbing you until you doubt you could ever breathe shallow or slow again.
It’s how I feel now, except empty.
“Oh, god, you look awful.”
I remember who’s standing over me, the stranger who gets breathy when she makes love. I actually blush as I roll my head to look at her. But she doesn’t seem embarrassed. She picks at a nail bed, staring at me with arched brows. Her eyes look cat-like, the bright green drawn out with purple shadow layered dramatically across her eyelids. The dress is silver and barely there, hugging her and showing her off, like a less-pretty best friend playing wingman to the real star of the show. I’ve never seen someone so comfortable so close to naked. I want to say she acted like she was born that way, and I just smile at my own joke.
And then I retch again. I heave, my body aching to ruin me, to throw everything out, but there’s nothing left to give. And suddenly I’m crying, my face buried in my arms.
The woman sighs behind me. I think she’s leaving. But I feel her lean over me. She smells like sweat and roses. I notice her arms glitter.
She flushes the toilet and then hands me a roll of toilet paper.
“You look like hell.”
I consider laughing but the thought makes me sick.
“I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure you don’t have to empty your whole stomach to lose a few.”
I shake my head, struggling to find my voice. Finally, it comes back to me.
“No, I’m sick.”
“Disgusting, actually.”
I turn to stare at her, gaping tiredly. Her eyes lock on mine, nothing passing through them, and then she laughs. It echoes through the room, ricocheting from the mirrors and the stalls, distorted by the time it comes back to us. And then she kneels down next to me. I push my hair out of my face, straightening warily as she carefully tucks her legs under her, her skirt inching up even more.
“God, though, you do smell awful.” She laughs again. “Remind me to not get whatever you had.”
I groan, thinking of the endless shots the bartender had poured and I’d gulped on an empty stomach. She nods at me, pulling a joint out from her bra. She puts it in her mouth and waits expectantly. I just watch. Finally, she waves a hand.
“You’ve got a light?”
I shake my head. She nods hers.
She takes the roll and spins it between her fingers. “So if it’s not your fat thighs that sent you here, what is it? Some ex? A broken nail?” She laughs. I’m getting used to the shallow noise.
I watch her carefully, finally shaking my head and frowning. “Do you really wanna sit here talking to me? I’ve got vomit caked to my mouth and you…. Isn’t your boyfriend waiting or something?”
Her forehead creases, and then she laughs. “Boyfriend? That shit?” She laughs. “God, no. I don’t have that bad of daddy issues. He was just some piece of ass on the dance floor. Felt like taking it slow for a minute, you know?” She winks at me. I scoff.
“It didn’t seem too slow.”
I think I’ve hurt her feelings because she stays quiet. And I look up, meeting her eyes again. And then she just throws her head back and laughs.
“I like you,” she said finally, still playing with her weed. She nods at me, “You’re funny. Kinda pretty, too.” She puts the joint back in her mouth. “So what are you doing in here?”
I shrug, finally sitting up. The motion makes my head spin so I straighten, scooting along the floor until I find the other wall of the stall. I lean against it, sighing in relief as the cold metal skates through my shirt and down my spine.
Finally, I open my eyes. Maybe because of the way she watches me, waiting, but I suddenly feel a thousand confessions itching to come out, to finally be heard. 
“You’re what—20, 25?”
She blushes, smiling coyly, only shrugging her shoulder a little. I laugh, a soft scoff sliding roughly out of my nose. I wipe a hand across my mouth and stare at the silver wall behind her, wishing suddenly my life hadn’t come to a point spent retching in a toilet with a girl who still smelt like sex.
I think I might cry again. 
“Well," I say roughly, "You hit thirty, then thirty-five, and suddenly everyone’s measuring you up. Every year counts. And you take stock of your life and realize…none of it matters. You’ve failed to do something—anything meaningful. Can’t even impress one person for one minute.”
Her smile falters. And then it’s back. She nudges me with one of her heels. “It can’t be all bad. You obviously know how to have a good time.”
I laugh. “Is that what this is?”
She smiles. “Well, I mean before ending up here—you were having a party, you know? Go big or go home! You just didn’t make it that far.” She giggles. She rolls her head along the wall, turning it up to stare at the ceiling tiles. “Life can’t be all that bad.”
I sigh. Everything’s still a little fuzzy but I focus on the red paint chipping off my fingernails. It’s halfway gone and practically useless and I can’t stop staring at the jagged stains still clinging to my nails.
“I’m thirty-five, right? And…it’s like everything I ever thought I’d be or do or have, none of it happened. And I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s my fault, a messed up childhood, my hovering mother, some vendetta god has against me—any of that tired crap people get to blame their problems on. But the point is…it’s like you’re caught running on a treadmill, just going, going, going, but getting nowhere with nothing ever changing except the pity in people’s faces, the judgmental whispers, the damn advice everyone wants to give.” I hate myself for it, but I can’t stop talking; everything's hazy and the words just keep spewing, a new sort of vomit. “And then, tonight, I decide to drown my sorrows with some girlfriends, but they all call to say they’re busy—that their husbands or children or jobs couldn’t spare them. So I became friends with the bartender until I wound up here, puking on the floor of some filthy club, listening to some dirty slut have sex.”
The air goes still. I suddenly remember I’m not alone or talking to myself—even just thinking, my mind spinning like it usually does. And I look up, suddenly scared of what I might find.
The woman stares at me, eyes eerily blank. She doesn’t move. Her arm is stretched out, resting on a knee, her hand frozen in front of her, the joint casually balanced between two knuckles. And then she laughs, something sad and low and frightened.
“You bitch.” She nods at me. Her words are cold but they sting. And she shakes her head, laughing again. “After that speech, you think you can pretend you’re better than me?”
I sigh. “I didn’t mean—“
She holds up her hand, silencing me. “No, you meant it. And maybe I am. I mean, I’m just some blonde who had sex with a stranger in a club. Forgive me for being such a cliché. But you’re just as awful—only, guess which one of us is happy?”
She laughs again. “I’m gonna get up and walk out, dance some more, drink some more, probably go home with another stranger just to sneak out of his apartment after and walk home to sleep in my own bed. And when Monday rolls around, I’ll get up and go to work. And you know what I’ll do? I’ll rave about the wild weekend and all the beautiful bastards I slept with. And you’ll find me back here again by the next weekend. With friends, by myself—who gives a shit? And you know what I’ll think of then? The sad, lonely, messed up girl laying in her own vomit like some broken dog or old man, crying about how her life means nothing to no one. So thanks for that, by the way. Now I know what I never want to be when I grow up.”
I scowl at her. “You think your life is so perfect now. But life—”
She cuts me off with a wild jerk of her hand. She leans closer, her eyes boiling. “Yeah, what? Life sucks? Life changes? Life matters? I’ve heard it all before. And you know what I think? Who gives a shit?” She laughs, moving back, shaking her head. “You’ve got to stop living for other people. One life is enough for them; don’t go wasting yours as if you owe them. You want to be happy? Be happy. You want a husband and kids and the goddamn picket fence? Then get it. But don’t sit here moaning about your shitty existence and drag me into it. Cuz from how you’d describe it, I’d rather be the slut in the stall with the stranger than the girl caught moaning about her life not being just like everyone else’s.”
My frown tightens. And I scoff, shaking my head. “You don’t get to judge me.”
She laughs. “Right back at you, princess.”
And I finally look at her. She smiles wildly, pushing her bangs off her forehead. They are starting to get sweaty, matting together in unforgiving strands. I suddenly notice a mole right under her eye. Her whole face is beginning to melt away, the makeup pooling hotly in the smallest of creases and curves. And she suddenly looks normal—like I could imagine her sitting at home in a pair of old PJs eating a burrito as a cat purrs nearby.
But maybe I just want to see something of me in her.
“What kind of pleasure do you get from living that way?” I can’t shake the awe that suddenly settles on me, making my voice soft.
She laughs, smiling brightly again, nodding towards the other stall. “You were listening to it. You tell me.”
I fight a blush, looking down. She laughs at me again.
“Anyways,” she says quickly, fluttering her hand as if to brush the seriousness away. “The way I see it, no matter what happens, it’s happening to you—not anyone else—so you get to decide what matters, what works, what you’re gonna do to get back at that bitch we call life. You either suck it up or make her suck it, right? So, my advice? Never let the bitch win. She always gets you in the end anyway. Might as well screw her with what time you’ve got.”
I don’t know what to say or think or do. I just nod, slowly. And she nods with me.
Suddenly, the bathroom door opens and three girls come pouring in, sweaty and laughing.
“Hey,” the woman sitting by me yells, pushing the stall door open. “You’ve got a light?”
They look at us and I suddenly realize how strange we must look, one woman in a desperate dress, the other in a pantsuit, each sweaty for different reasons, both sitting on the bathroom floor. The bunch of girls giggle at us, but one steps forward, silently offering a lighter.
“Oh, thank god.” She lights her joint and inhales, letting the smoke spin slowly from her nostrils. The other girls pretend to fix their hair and reapply lipstick, but they watch us from the mirror, finally leaving in another fit of giggles. I consider getting up and going out with them, but I’m too tired. And the woman across from me opens her eyes.
“You want some?”
I look at the joint, wondering what it feels like sliding down your throat. I’m already breathing it in. Maybe that’s why I shrug. She takes it as a yes.
“Here, have the rest. God knows you need it more than me.” She offers it to me after one more drag and then she stands up. I guess I’m surprised to see her leaving. But I don’t have any reason to ask her to stay, and I’m not sure I even want her to. So I just stare at her parting gift. I hold it between my thumb and finger, watching the way the smoke curls up from it, the white paper turning orange then black then ash, fading into nothing but a puff of grey.
The woman stands up, shaking the germs from her. “Hey,” she says, suddenly serious. “Lighten up.” And then she laughs, carelessly, tossing her hair as she gives her reflection a glance. She fluffs her hair and flicks a finger along her eyelashes. I watch as she notices the mole peeking out and quickly rubs the makeup back over it. And then she smiles. With nothing more than a wink my way, she disappears.
I imagine her back on the dance floor, her body gyrating to every violent jump of the music. She was probably one I’d been watching earlier, resenting the way she could go out on the floor alone and suddenly be hunted by every guy out there, each eager to chase her curves, following them slowly with each dip and dive to the pounding of the music. And I can imagine her picking one and chasing him into the bathroom, a stranger to make her feel something or maybe to prove something. That’s when I realize I’m the second one that night to say goodbye without even knowing her name.

I can’t decide if I want to be her, but I stare at the joint between my fingers as I consider it.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

sister sister

I miss Laura today. I had a dream about her last night. It was simply lovely.

But i miss her crazy grin. Her deep set eyes. The way she knew she was just so cool.

I mean, come on. We're so cute.

Man, I love her. Halfway there. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

well, folksy folks folk

miley cyrus + mumford and sons. do i like it? i haven't decided. 

though i'd like to imagine mi-cy sitting on a bale of hay playing the banjo as a bunch (flock?) of ducklings scatter around a bunch (herd?) of cows munching by dawn's early light.   

home sweet home

Things that make me feel like a New Yorker. 

Avoiding walking down Broadway or having to go to midtown all together. 

Getting impatient with slow walkers and/or tourists. Though, seriously, they're always the same. 

Hating the wait at Time Warner with a disdain more befitting my feelings toward satan. 

Not looking at people on the subway. And ignoring people trying to strike up a conversation.

Waiting in line for a cronut. Even if it was towards the end of the hype. I still got it while it was hot! (Not literally, for a cronut is much too delicate to serve hot). 

Ignoring the crazies and/or catcallers. Also almost always one and the same. 

Not noticing the sirens and shouting an flashing lights late into the night. 

Hailing a cab with the simple ease of stepping into the street with my arm raised, not even glancing up until a yellow taxi is in front of me. 

Taking the subway to go grocery shopping, and carting groceries back home via the subway too. 

Not waiting for the light to change before I cross the street. I feel so BA every time I walk across the intersection like I own the place.

Eating at Shake Shack. 

Seeing a couple police officers stand by a definitely-not-empty body bag. ...yeah, that one wasn't so fun. But it happened.  

I guess that's life now. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

how you like them apples?

i went apple picking last saturday. i felt very new yorker. and it was refreshing, getting out of the city for some fresh air an wide open spaces--even that's very new yorker of me. 
pretty, right? like i was caught in a j. crew photo shoot. you know, wearing my boots and my forest green jacket. we picked those cortlands and macintoshes. walked around the orchards yonder. Wandered in and out round tangled trees heavy laden with fresh fruit ripe for the picking. Poetic, right? 

only problem?

it was a balmy 79 degrees. seems like new york doesn't know when to be Fall. but i aint complainin'. I mean, sure, taking off said forest green jacket greatly dehanced my autumn-time outfit. But it was a truly, wonderfully, beautifully perfect day. 
it was a ward activity. that only a dozen people showed up to. because we caught a train at Grand Central (i say things like that now) at nine a.m. and i guess...aint nobody got time for that. but i was happy to go. even though, honestly, i don't like apples all that much. aaaaaand we got a lot. but it was fun. and beautiful. and lovely. and the air really was fresh.

and oh. my. gosh. those apple cider donuts the orchards offered--TO DIE FOR. Donuts aren't real donuts unless they're from new york. 

there, i say things like that too. but it's true.

halfway there

so as you know, i got a place. a lovely place that i mostly adore in a city that i mostly love. this is mostly good. what was not good was the amount of my money swirling slowly down the drain as we failed, time and again, to find a roommate. seems in classic bad-luck-boyer style, i found housing just as the housing craze of the new season dwindled to a barely perceptible whisper. really, it was more like a yawn.

that's right, i go through the nightmare of too many people looking, not enough people selling, only to find out as we come out all sunshine and roses...that no one is looking and now everyone is selling.


insert another two nightmarish weeks of panicking as my bank accounts drained. like a water bottle draining after you've shaken a twister inside. girls showing interest, backing out, waiting for jobs, waiting for money--just waiting.

all of which is understandable and i cannot resent them for.

still. i'm over here waving in distress, my smile a bit crazed as i wish i could just scream "I REALLY NEED THAT MONEY BACK!"

and then it finally happened. after what felt like eternity trying to convince this girl to move in (without coming on too strong and, you know, crazy), she finally signed. yay! i got a whopping check to pay back what i put down on the lease so my bank account is happy too.

which is great because credit card bills are due. fateful timing? methinks so.

anyways. while this nightmare is over, another lives on: still jobless, still struggling, still tired of all the "have you found a job yet" questions. trust me, you'll know when i do.

so i still don't quite feel settled and it's still a little panicky over here (hence these morose-ly flavored postings) but i'm getting there. practically a new yorker. hopefully i'll earn the title sooner rather than later. because, i mean, it wasn't that big a payday.