Tonight, i walked from Seoul Station to my hill barefoot in the pouring rain. It was the greatest walk of my life. For the first time since arriving here, i felt one with the city and yet comfortably alone, with only my thoughts and my music and the rain washing over my feet. There’s something about cities: no matter where in the world you might be, a city has this way of being welcoming and impenetrable at once, and you have to meet it head-on at its most vulnerable moments—when there are very few people on the streets masking its true qualities—to break open its shell.
That’s what i missed when i left New York. I missed making love to the city, taking long walks in the rain and at night, ignoring everything around me but the ground below my feet and the vague pulsation of life continuing in my temporary absence. I loved everything about New York: the people, the food, the culture, the beat it moved to. There’s nothing quite like the no bullshit attitude that New York breeds and takes pride in.
I hate most things about Seoul, especially the people, but as long as i can take barefoot, solitary walks in the rain, returning home to my quiet hill of friendly people, i think i’ll be okay. Navigating the city isn’t a concern; i just need to learn how to navigate the people.
. . . I like familiarity. As much as i try to fool myself into thinking that i like the new, the unexplored, the unknown, i’m just a scaredy-cat with my own share of insecurities.
When i start to get familiar with something, and something else threatens to take it from me, i panic. I don’t wanna lose the chance of disclosing it. I don’t wanna have to surrender it to the world out there. I don’t wanna have to start from scratch, only to lose again.
There’s something about late night heart-to-heart’s in New York. The hustle and bustle of everyday life in the city makes you yearn so much for human connection that even sustained eye contact becomes something to be cherished, and soul-satisfying conversations crawl their way into secret repositories, like this one.
While the city was celebrating 420, my friend and i sat in bed, Guinness draughts in hand. We shared our individual pasts, reminisced over our high school years, and revealed our hopes and dreams. Maybe it was the Guinness talking, but maybe it was also our hearts connecting.
For the first time in a long time, i had what i call a “committed conversation.” We each had the other’s undivided attention for once, undistracted by the city’s beauties and failings. The tension of NYC in daylight fell away as we drank, leaned back, and indulged in the silence of my room and the authority—the sweet audibility—of our voices.
Last night replenished my soul, and i’m finally unafraid to plow through the three weeks i have left here.
It’s 6 p.m. My roommate Heather’s not back yet, so i have the luxury of listening to my music without headphones. The day is winding down, much too soon, and cars honk here and there as they rush home. Wheels sound slick on wet roads.
It’s 7 p.m. My suitemate Kristen takes her usual evening shower. Maybe i should shower early tonight, too. I’m tired and i’d like to go to bed early, maybe wake up early to finish studying. But Heather will be back soon and i wouldn’t be able to sleep with her in the room, typing away on instant messenger. My pills rattle as i look for my glass bottle of Vitamin B6. I press down firmly on my pill splitter until one tablet snaps neatly in two, giving me two manageable doses of 25 mg. No need for 50 mg at this time of the evening.
It’s 8 p.m. Our heat’s broken again; i turn on my electric heater. It clicks merrily as it heats up the oil inside. The satisfying click, the promising click… Heather’s back, and we make our usual small talk, but there’s more to talk about tonight. Sometimes i think we turn every mundane event into drama to compensate for the lack of excitement in our lives. An ambulance blares and honks its way down our street as Heather and i discuss the latest passive-aggressive behaviors in our suite.
It’s 9 p.m. The heater whines and buzzes to indicate that it’s reached maximum temperature. It’s still cold. I walk over to the room thermostat and press the fan button to no effect. The radiator makes a jerking sound as if it’s going to do something but doesn’t blow any air. Kristen’s removing her dishes from the dish rack; she closes the cabinets and returns to her bedroom, shutting the door. My turn to do the dishes. At least the water will be hot.
It’s 10 p.m. The wind howls through high-rise valleys and building vents. The locals next door to our building chatter into the night, savoring the last puffs of their cigarettes. Delivery trucks growl, rolling up 1st Ave. Someone on the street yells, “Watch out!” The city has so many people and sometimes it upsets me that i can’t care for every one of them, that i can’t know what happens to every one of them.
I was feeling down tonight, still suffering from this and grey weather, so on the way back from a 10pm Trader Joe’s run, i had a cigarette in front of my building, holding a bag of strawberries that i hoped would cheer me up.
I didn’t expect the scenery above: the sky was a dark indigo with a tinge of green, and the grey clouds wrapped the nearly full moon—a perfectly white moon, just the way i like it. As the smoke from my mouth tangled with the air, fading into the clouds, the street lamps soaked the white-bloomed tree in amber, and i was happy for a moment.
Maybe a full moon will be waiting for me tomorrow night.
What do you do when he who has hurt you irreparably wants to get back in touch?
What do you do when you can’t forgive him but don’t want to hurt him either?
What do you do when you know that forgiving him would mean hurting your loved ones?
artist credit: Kevin Townsend
There’s something about New York. It’s amazing and depressing at the same time, and i’m starting to feel more of the depressing part these days. Despite having grown up in urban and suburban areas, i feel like the city is becoming too much for me. All i can think about these days is retreating to nature. I used to love taking aimless walks here, so i went out this weekend to take advantage of the warmer weather, but i didn’t enjoy the walks this time. It was an opportunity to think to myself, but the roads, the cars, the crowds just got to be a bit much.