It is December 1, 2011. I’m 23 years old, living in an all women’s commune in the East Village, working as a waitress in Union Square, a journalist for World New York, and a poet.
New York is home.
I’m sober. Vegan. A virgin. I love pickled things and riding my bicycle. I do not have a husband or a boyfriend or a mortgage or children. I am not afraid of dying.
The moon makes me more of a woman.
Obama is President of the United States. Zuccotti Park is packed with tents and protesters. The 99% want change. According to the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity, I live below the poverty line. I do not feel poor, I have never gone hungry. I think Obama is handsome.
My shoes are thin so I can feel the ground.
My mother is from Staten Island, so is her mother. Her father comes from a tenement on E 48th Street and 1st Avenue in Manhattan. His family was moved to E 55th when the U.N. was built. I never tire of story. I dog-ear all my pages.
Everything will change. It already has.
Applying to graduate school is terrifying. I am afraid of not living the good life. I believe there is a good life. Professor Hilscher handed Walden Pond to me when I asked him what to do next. “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desparation” I still have the book on my shelf.
Coney Island, Far Rockaway, the Atlantic feels like home.
I cook and read and dance in my living room. Take a hot shower after bicycle ride in rain. Some of my stories are tied to people I haven’t seen in years. Some of my stories are tied to people I haven’t met yet. It is hard for me not to be happy.
Every day is a gift.
My stomach tightens, the muscles of my arms and legs catch fire when I ride up 137th street toward Convent. I scream silently. There are things that I am sorry for. I am not ashamed. I’ve been taking classes at City College since January. Such beauty in the building, in the faces. We read eachother’s work and say what could be better. I watch lips form words and wet themselves with tongue. I do not always hear.
My body is electric.
Tomorrow I will be 24 years old, awake before dawn, on my bicycle to Brooklyn. The sun still surprises me. It is new every time. I remember my father’s hand turning my head away from the construction worker on Delancey, shielding my wide open eyes from welder and torch.
I cannot look away from light.