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Dear Jane,

You need to lighten up. I love you, but it’s the season for apple cider laced with apple pie moonshine and dancing in the shower drunk on such concoctions to Tiesto’s “Wasted.” Weird pureed pumpkin soup has appeared in my fridge courtesy of my Russian roommate and it doesn’t taste half bad. There is a bag of fresh picked apples next to the fridge and the promise of more from the Queens roommate. People are starting to sweep leaves off the sidewalks, and my coworkers and I are trying to figure out what costumes to wear to work on Halloween. Apple muffins are in my future and at the end of the best month of the year I turn 25.

I do accept your challenge though.

New York City refuses to let go of summer. Only a few weeks ago it was so hot it felt like the city was sweating with us. It was shorts or skirts if you wanted to survive the days, but the business men remained resolutely in their three piece suits, and the cops roasted in their kevlar. During that week one of our regulars came in with his tie neatly folded and tucked into his breast pocket, the collar of his shirt open, and his cuffs undone. All that naked flesh – the bare hollow of his throat and his exposed wrists – gave me a much better understanding of the Victorian appreciation of a revealed ankle.

Not too long ago, at 6:45 am, it was already 71 degrees and high humidity. Disgusting. I am ready for cool 60 degree weather. Sweatshirts and jeans, warm hats and hot chocolate, and that smell you only get in October of the earth slowly preparing itself to sleep.

Two years here in the city and I still have trouble with the fact that it is truly a city that never sleeps. Four days a week I drag ass out of bed at 4 am to leave by 4:45 am and although the majority of the populace are still abed, I and a few of the city’s denizens are awake and waiting for a train. Some of us, like me, are on our way to work, others are heading home from work, and more than you would guess are stumbling home drunk off their asses at five in the damn morning.

Union Square is quieter this time of morning. A cop car will sometimes be idling near the fountain, and the police barriers up to stop people from sleeping, assaulting, or having sex in the park area. Half a dozen or so chess players will still be huddled around their boards, some conscious and talking, others asleep in their chairs under woolen blankets.

I have a confession to make.

I have worn Grandpa’s army jacket to therapy every week since his death and I have not taken the rank off of it. I justify this act of rebellion to myself with the logic of “this is the only place I wear it to” and most times it hangs on the hooks in my room or lays on my bed. I am still waiting for Wendy to mention it. She won’t, and I don’t know what I would tell her if she did, but it feels good to hunch my shoulders under the olive green fabric and shove my hands deep in the pockets. I wear it into my own personal war once a week.

I am sorry about the salad, but find comfort in the fact that you are stronger than me. I had a chicken and bacon sandwich for lunch. Hopefully, I’ll get back into cooking and be able to make some of those heavy pasta dishes for myself! Give the hubby a hug for me and tell your co-workers that Big Macs suck warty toes and that Double Quarter Pounders with Cheese are the way to go.

All the love and caffeine,

Libby