Stuck In the Middle with New (York)

New York is the jilted lover that’s followed me around my whole life. We exchange fleeting flirtatious glances, always finding each other unavailable when it’s least convenient. She is the devil on my shoulder, pulling at my earlobe and whispering that I should never have left her. And yet, when I loved her most, moved my life to be with her, she treated me like garbage.

It’s no fun being poor in the city.

Brandon remembers the negatives: the long commute, his mugging, the stink, the heat with no AC, the bedbugs, the 4-flight walk-up apartment that we had to tug laundry and groceries up and down. Yet for me, I remember New York only with rose-colored glasses, aware of these challenges but knowing, in my heart, there will always be a hole inside me that no other city can fill.

In the way that some women yearn to have children, I yearn for the city. I long for the lights of Times Square (even though I know every “real” dweller loathes it). I pine for the dirty snow christening my head as I trudge through the slush. I’m only complete when I’m exiting the subway into the Bermuda Triangle of Greenwich Village or trekking to the East Village for happy hour. No matter that I can’t find a public bathroom, or have forgotten which direction the blue line takes me. I’m home.

I’ve heard other people feel this way about NYC. You either belong or you don’t, and after you leave, you spend your life chasing the high that your lover once offered, knowing you may never get it back. She is a fling, a temptress, and a terrible burden… but she’ll always be your first love.

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