No filters

What do you leave behind when you leave a place your blood is stained with?
You leave everything. You leave scraps of little things, like a shoebox that was once filled with childhood diaries and letters you used to pass around in class.
You leave your footprints on the stairs. You leave hand marks on the doorknobs. You leave your emotional scars, your fantasies, your childhood nightmares and happy dreams. You leave yourself. You tell yourself to forget. You become something different.
In Manhattan, I am sometimes another version of the old me. I know where to walk. I carry a purse twice my size. I carry a mug of coffee. I sometimes don’t have time to look up at the sky or think about how pretty it is. I just walk to get to class, to get to work and sit at my desk, to grab a bite to eat, to cook, to buy groceries, to glance at pretty dresses. I don’t have time to criticize myself. If I think about all that I am doing wrong, all that could be better, all that is flawed, I wouldn’t make it through the day. And here in this city, it is important to make it through the day because no one will pick you up, no one will get you out of your misery. You wanted this dream. It’s yours now. You take care of how it happens from now on. You make the call. It was your dream. You own it and you have to pay the price.
In Fairfax, Virginia, I drive my parents’ car and blast music with the windows down and I pop bubble gum as I sing along the beat. I see Mom and Dad everyday. I live in their house. I breathe their air. I walk on grass. I sit on the porch. I sip tea sometimes in silence if no cars pass by. I hear birds. I think of my flaws and how utterly alone I am in the world and I write about the grass below my feet. I write about my father because he walks in front of me and has strong presence despite his silence. I write about coffee because when I make it, it seems like an eternity, like a moment frozen in time, where I hear the water moving through the tube, and the brown liquid gradually sinking into the pot. Everything is slower, the motions, the gestures, the conversations, the movements of living things. I write about boredom.
In New York, I gather thoughts but they disperse into the sound of subways. Sometimes the sound is so loud that I feel a vibration in my ear and this effect causes me to think of sound, rather than a concrete thought. What is sound? It is the force of a train, its body crashing against the rails, the screeching, appalling, beautifully moving sound that reminds me that I am constantly moving. Often I bump into others or vise versa. It is always a split second. It lasts just enough for you to realize there are others around you, watching you, maybe asking you to pardon them with their fatigued eyes. In the city, I don’t think. I just keep walking because this is my dream and it is the kind of dream where there is no break, no stopping point. It’s a constant breeze, a constant battle with the self, constantly recreating itself.
If I think really hard, I can describe something concrete. The building I live in: it’s brown and not very elegant. There is nothing smooth about it, nothing that makes it home-like from the outside. The elevator sometimes smells like trash. The ceilings look as if they could break and having water running down. There is a smell of antiquity everywhere, in the narrow, poorly lit hallways. Inside, however, is where home is. Inside is where I have made sense out of New York and how I am in it. It is where I have organized thoughts, on my desk, the pictures I’ve put up of family and close friends. The people I live with make me happy. They make me want to share my life. We drink together, sometimes unplanned. We get up early or sleep a little longer than the next person. We say cheers. We share bread and eggs sometimes. We make weird food and compare. We buy protein bars and wonder if they are really good for us. We close the shades. We take out the trash. We live together, and continue with our own habits as if nothing has changed. We say good morning and hope we have a good day. We fall asleep on the couch. We laugh. We watch great television shows. We watch dumb things. We talk intelligently and then we mock ourselves. We are sarcastic.
This is home. This is the constant moving of things, of people, of thoughts against a very loud city that doesn’t tire down, that demands of you to stay awake, that begs for you to love life, fall in love, lust after things, be needy, but independent, a great lover and a caring friend. And you do all these things because you don’t know any better and because this is after all, a dream, a good dream, where you are at peace with yourself.

Comments are closed.