I catch the glare of headlights in between glass and streaks of water as I sit in the café of WholeFoods looking out the window down into the Chinatown traffic. My friend whom I've known since college is eating sushi with chopsticks and I'm eating boiled potatoes with a spoon since there are no plastic forks left in the dispenser. I'm not bothered considering it's almost closing time and I have no shame shoving food in my mouth with my fingers. It's one of those rare moments when the temperature inside a public building is perfectly comfortable, and the security of being indoors with good food and company is enough to melt your heart and leave an imprint in your memories. I lean my forehead against the cool glass and squint my eyes to see the city through a raindrop lens, remembering how different life use to be when I was a little girl...when I was a teenager...when I was in college. I am feeling all of the degrees of my life as a million taxis swirl around me, each one passing with at least one person carrying their own stories. I feel a particular contentment in saying out loud, "Hey Tony, we live in New York City." To which Tony knowingly replies "It's easy to see how far you've come when you share a history with the company you're in."
It's rarely glamorous here, but every now and then you catch a gust of overwhelming pride and a boosted degree of ownership about who you are, and I swear to god those feelings are enough to push you through month after month. Like the smell of fresh cut grass through an open window as you play video games on the leather coach in the living room at your grandma's house, or waking up to the kiss of sunlight warming your cheek through a crack in the curtains of your otherwise dark room, remember the moments where you lived completely in the moment, because those moments subtly change you. Build a collage in your head of moments so special you'll smile in public on a crowded subway when you play it back in your head. Don't pay any mind to the people glancing your way, most of them likely recognizing your nostalgic energy. Maybe one day they'll be part of your flashback, or you'll be part of theirs. They live in New York City too, after all. It's not just your city, but it is whatever kind of home you make it to be for however long you'll have each other.