February 13, 2013


Tomorrow is Valentines Day. What does that mean to me? Do I give myself a gift? Do I wait until next year to acknowledge this capitalist holiday? Perhaps it only means more red and pink in New York City. It means more heart shaped objects wherever I go, dangling from ceilings, staring at me from the backs of newspapers that people read on the subway. It means glitter, smiles, PDA and stressed out guys in suits walking to the subway with a bouquet of flowers in their hand while checking their watches. No flowers for me. That's okay. I don't really like flowers anyway. I see no beauty in watching beauty decay.

Oh, good old grey and cold Brooklyn. I am in a new neighborhood. Bay Ridge. It's not that much better than Bed-Stuy, except I haven't been mugged or harassed yet. I guess that is better. These last few cold winter days surprise with a bit of sun, but I keep wondering why it is not making me happy. I am not enjoying it, but don't hate it either. Perhaps it's just me getting used to the madness, used to the stress, the bad air, the noises. The hectic. The smell of pizza and laundry detergent on busy street corners. The car alarm that goes off at 5am. The old Italian guy and the Chinese lady next door yelling and complaining about the car alarm. The police sirens. Everyday. I missed all that, in those six months of Amsterdam. Now that I am back in New York I am empty once again. The refreshing feeling I get when I breathe Western European air is gone. It's all grey now.

I spend my weekends taking trains upstate. Escape. Grand Central and the New York Public Library have become my second home. I discovered secret corners between bookshelves, where I hide and wait for the last train to take me to the snowed-in North. New Rochelle. Pelham. Yonkers. The Raceway Diner. America. I might miss this somewhat. The people. Genuine, kind, smart. Rare. We play music until 3am and have pancakes for dinner. Heaven.

Seven more days until I turn 26. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps. It makes me wonder who I have become. Honestly, I am starting to like myself. Perhaps I am going to be an amazing 26-year-old, and it is a convincing thought that I will become even more amazing with every year going by.

When I was twelve, one of my Dad's friends came to visit and brought his new girlfriend, who was 24 at the time (their age difference was a touchy subject). Suzy was her name. Of course, to me she was so old, and her peroxide blonde hair made her look even older. After all, a grown up like everyone else. And she wore vests a lot (something grown ups do?).  Suzy always smoked cigarettes in our kitchen. Sometimes I would sit with her and listen to her exhaling smoke. One day she complained: "I'm 24 now. That's almost 30. What am I gonna do with my life?!"

What am I going to do with my life? 26 in one week. It can only get better from here on. A plane will take me back to Europe in two weeks. A new life. Stress. A lot of it. Wrinkles. They suit me. No complaints. No grey hair yet. Ok.

My cat is sleeping on the laptop cable.

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