I have high hopes of one day being a car wreck of a romantic.
Of one day lending my heart out, as if it were a well-read library book, to someone who would have no choice but to rip the return date from the inner bindings because although he does not understand the way he feels, he cannot go a day without feeling this way. But before I could ever allow this Great Love to latch onto my limbs, I had to give myself to a First Love that has made its way into nearly every paragraph of every diary entry I have penned since the age of ten.
While some young girls drew hearts around boys named Justin and stitched their first name to the last name of the boy beside them in math class, I scripted Love Letters to Concrete. Stenciled Hearts Around Skyscrapers. Stitched my own name into the Skyline of a City I prayed would learn my name and find the sound of it just too sweet to ever not repeat.
New York City. I will always believe that although the Big City may seem chaotic & busy & bursting with bustling adjectives, if you take the time to step away from it you will realize it is really One Big Dance. Some people wear tap shoes while others wrap silk ribbons around their ankles. And some even do the most remarkable of rain dances on bare calloused feet. Look closer. You’ll find the waltzing on Wall Street. Pirouettes Through Coffee Shops. And, if you are careful with your observations, you will find in every moment another ballerina finding the courage to run and leap into the arms of the Big City. Catching her at her waist and lifting her up to kiss the sky.
New York City. I’d tell any dreamer or realist alike to make some time to dance with her. I’d tell any soul, old or young, to bow & curtsie with the City’s Avenues and Bright Lights.
A friend of mine, who I swear might count the freckles on my arms when I am not looking, asked me today, “What will you write about now that you are no longer in New York City?” A very good question. A question I have asked myself several times in the past few days as the N scurried away from the Y and grew farther from the C. How a girl finds words after concrete. After subways. After the insomniac city.
But, despite geography, I still believe that this Big City will find her footing in every one of my sentences. This Concrete Jungle Will Still Be Planted Deep Within the Jungles of the Punctuation Before Me. Because New York City taught me a great lesson: that life is not a matter of being picky with footwear but of looking down at the shoes you were given and making the decision to dance no matter what. And isn’t that the reason we write to begin with? Or Create? Or Live? Because we never understood the life we were given but it seemed worth it to dance anyway. To Shuffle. To Trot. To Turn. To Leap. Even with blistered feet. Or worn soles.
I don’t need a point on a map to know there are some things we were never meant to understand, like a mysterious city that echoes your name like tap shoes taking to a wooden floor. That we never understand the things we see. The things we feel. The places we go. The hands we hold. But we still must see, feel, go, and hold. Regardless.
The Big City will teach you just this if you allow it to. That life is the water-color paints meeting paper. Life is the chocolate melting out in the sun. Life is the mud on the bottom of your feet after you have danced in the rain. Life is the watermelon dripping on your white shirt. Life is the remains of peppermint that you carried home on your lips the night you learned his were prone to chapping easily. Life is a tangle of Christmas lights, tethered and confusing but still a glowing swarm of elegance.
Life is exactly what New York City seems like from a first glance. Crazy. Intense. Magical. Wild. Unreal. Big. Loud.
And then a ballerina emerges from the crowd. Tattered shoes. Blistered feet. The Big City lifts her from the waist and she’s up, up, up. Kissing the Sky.