Many New Yorkers seem to have resting bitch faces. I see people wearing their masks while riding on the subway and walking down the street. It looks like they’re dead inside. And I’ve been closing myself off, too, when I go back to my Brooklyn apartment alone, when men on the street—with seemingly no other place to go—tell me to smile, beautiful. (I always refuse.)
New Yorkers distinguish themselves from tourists by their brusqueness—their elbows and shoulders steel as they part rapid streams of tourists, their legs quick as they cross the street even if the sign says Do Not Walk. It seems easier to continue this way to work, to school, etc.
These days, anyone who deviates from this pattern catches my attention. On the subway, a couple showing each other the smallest of affections—holding hands or sharing a secret smile—somehow seem fascinating, and makes me wonder about the life they share and will share. The sound of a baby laughing causes me to turn my head. It’s like something inside me flickers on.
I have many conflicting feelings towards New York life, and lately I’d been feeling an intense disdain for my new home. I don’t know what happened, but my sense of wonder had disappeared. But after walking back from the gym yesterday along Broadway, New York came to life: radiant lights, smoke from the food carts floating in the air, languages blending like harmony. I thought: I am here, now. I just need to hold on to this wonder and hope that it’s good enough for me.