She was the scent that lingered heavy in the air after a thick and heavy summer rain. She was the sun that burst through the gray clouds, absorbing the moisture, she was the humidity that suffocated you. She was the smell of perfume that clung to the fibers of your clothes after a long hug. She was the ice in the bottom of my glass. I was her cup of tea and she was my shot of whiskey.
She came to me out of nowhere, on a busy street, in the afternoon as I was fumbling in my purse for my chapstick, she sped by me on her bike. She looked back at me, smiled and winked and kept riding. I stood there, in the middle of the city, feeling a strong voltage pump through my veins. Within seconds she was there, and in that same second, she was gone. In that brief moment, her body whooshing by me on her bike, I felt like we were connected. I saw a piece of paper fly out of her bag, I rushed into oncoming traffic to chase after the purple square that was 30 seconds from being blowing away. I held it tight in my hand. Our souls were destined to meet that day. I stood on my tippy toes trying to see her, wondering where she went, where she was going, if she was going to come back. She faded into the chaos of the honking horns, the yelling people, the crying babies, the barking dogs, the jackhammers jacking. And just like that, she was gone.
Out of the 8.4 million people in New York City, she was there, she was somewhere in the belly of this living breathing beast and I wasn’t going to stop until I found her again. I looked down at my watch, that proudly told me it was 4:15. Rush hour, for a city that never sleeps, you wouldn’t assume it had a rush hour. But every day like clockwork at 4pm, everyone crawled from their places of employment, carrying briefcases, with their phones attached to them, wearing a smug frown knowing they will soon be home with their spouses and their children, only having to go to sleep and wake up and do it all over again. Suits and ties, pantsuits, business jackets parading around the city, mimicking humans that they used to be, before they started working that job before they signed their soul over to a corporation who doesn’t even know their name, let alone what they do. They make them money, and that is all that mattered. I wondered what they looked like without their suits on, without their business masks on and I wondered if they even know who they are anymore. or if they are just one of the corporate drones, buzzing around the hive.
I walked down 7th street, yellow taxies brightened up the day the way daisies do in a field of green. They brought some color to the gray pavement that they stained with their fluids leaking, in dire need of repair. For some people, it was just another thing in the city had to offer, but for some others, it was dinner on the table and roof over heads. I saw the flowers in the flower boxes dangling from windowsills, their best attempt of trying to beautify this city. I don’t know if they have ever been out past 10pm, but this city was decorated with enough of lights, Las Vegas would be jealous. I wove in between kids drawing on the sidewalk in chalk, making every attempt to not step on their miniature works of art. They may only be 5 years old, but in their minds, they were Van Gough’s and Monets. Decorating sidewalks with hearts and stars, with the sun sitting in the corner. The Renoirs of the next generation started off at sidewalk artists. Always with the sun, in the corner, shedding light on the flowers and trees that grew underneath.
I climbed the steps to my apartment, one after another I made a list of to myself of what I needed to do, what I needed to get done, what I had to accomplish in order to get myself ready for bed, and up the next morning. I pulled out my keys and fumbled for the correctly labeled key.
I shoved it into the keyhole that has been unlocked so many times, and will be locked and unlocked so many more times. The large wooden door let out a moan as I pushed it open and into my apartment. My little piece of heaven away from the city. I took my shoes off at the door. I turned around, locking my door twice, one two. one two. I slid the chain across it, like a violinist playing its song of the night. One two, one two.
I pulled my yellow pinstripe dress over my head, yellow like the sunshine that hung in the corner of the sidewalk masterpieces.
I ran my hands under the hot water, counting to twenty, I slathered them with the purple foamy soap. I rinsed again, hot water, counting to 20. Grabbing a white fluffy new towel from the second drawer over the right, I dried my hands, picking up my dress from the mat where my shoes sat, I carried them to my bedroom and sealed them both into the hamper.
Sitting down in the chair next to my bed, the white chair sucked me in, I thought about that girl, the girl on the bike, the girl on the bike that sped past me by the speed of light and I hoped I would see her again. I wanted to run into her, I wanted her to smile at me like that again, I wanted her to wink at me, I wanted her to know that she was my one in 8.4 million.
I walked into my bathroom, turning the H knob all of the way until it couldn’t move anymore, I stood as the heat turned my skin a bright shade of red.