My City...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Every other weekend for 10 years, I went to visit my dad in New York City. Now that's over, and I miss my city.
(Oh, and I have somewhat of an obsession with rain...)

Submitted: January 23, 2010

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Submitted: January 23, 2010

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I want to go back there. To the city. My city...

If you ever go biking in New York.... Well, first of all it was nice knowing you. And second of all, do it when it's raining. In the half light of the rain, the city becomes a sparkling world of light and shadow that blurs as you fly past. You catch snatches of conversation, all kinds of things. And then they're gone, and you'll never see them again. I love that feeling. You're a part of the world only in theory, not connected to anything but the certainty that you will be gone in a moment.

The cars beside you, way too close, reflect all the buildings that speed by. A cabby cuts the corner of the sidewalk and you see the pedestrians press back, the glossy black umbrellas bending into one another. A man walks out of a cafe followed by a woman in a business suit. She's yelling at him and he is walking away. As you fly past, she stands in the rain, the gray of her suit darkened with the drops seeping in.

And then she's gone as you slide through an intersection. The light is red, and a grungy yellow cab honks at you. Then it is gone too. All behind you. It's like a dream. The light is the kind only seen in twilight here, but the smog of the city combines with the overcast sky to create a gorgeous half light. As you leave the well known parts of the city, the features change. Every so often, there are alleys of cobblestone, hearkening back to a different time.

As you enter Chinatown, the streets narrow. The rain slides over every surface, pouring in torrents off the awnings under which the umbrella-less passers-by have taken refuge. You don't care about the rain. Soaked to the skin, you are more fascinated by the pools of light spilling out from cozy restaurants and cafes onto the streets. The cobblestones are slick and shiny with rain. You pass a lamp shop, crammed with lights of all shapes, sizes and colors. You wonder how the customers fit inside. It is squeezed in between a shop full of trinkets, jade idols, gold Buddhas -stereotypic souvenirs to get in this part of town- and a small restaurant, full of people. They line the window, sitting at small tables, drinking tea. You can see the steam rising from their cups. Many of them stare out at the rain, but none seem to see you.

As you continue, you see narrow, dark alleyways off the main street, not lit by the borrowed light of the shops. You see the faint outlines of the trashcans of the restaurant and...a man sifting through them? It is too dark to tell, and anyways you're already past. You accept it, and feel a strange sort of comradery with the silhouette in the dark. People walk by him, and don't even see him. And whether or not you resist it, you know you're like him.

A shadow in the rain, you reach the river. It is almost dark now, but you won't see a sunset today. The rain has made everything gray, but it's not a sad color. It's a calm, a lulling comfort. The water doesn't look as polluted as it is rumored to be. It too is gray, and it looks like a living creature, writhing and lapping at the rocks. You look at it from behind the shiny railing that lines the edge. All along the river, there is a small park, paved with brick. Here and there are unexpected little gardens filled with life and benches beside them. The plants drip with rain. You can barely see all the way across, but the twinkling neon lights of the other side look whimsical and enchanting in the haze.

This is the city I remember. This is the city I long for. Every day. Someday, I will go back there. It's where I belong...


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