postcard #2: nyc/july/1989



by Christopher Monks

The City intimidates me. It's so big and looming. Subways and cab drivers make me nervous, so I walk and walk and walk. I figure maybe in all these strides, under all these buildings, things will somehow sort out.

I stay with a friend who lives in a loft on the Upper West Side. I look forward to the time when the doorman finally recognizes me. My friend goes to art school. There's an ashtray in the shape of an ear on her kitchen table. Twice I've come home and found my friend smoking cigarettes in her underwear. I don't really need that right now.

Sometimes when I walk I pretend that I'm on an errand. Other times, I make like I have an important place to be. Pretending gets tiring. My feet don't hurt, though. Guess the shoe guy was right. I'm still not sold on their color. My friend says my shoes make me look touristy, but I disagree. I'm just not a big fan of brown.

I stare up at skyscrapers and think wow, that's really high. They must take forever to build. I imagine falling out a window and my feet get tingly. I really should go back to school. Or something.

Yesterday, a European-sounding woman asked me for directions to Times Square. She must have thought I lived here. I didn't want to disappoint her, so I told her how to get there walking, even though it probably would've been faster if she took a train.

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