The city upsets the human animal, backs him into a corner, and menaces him, as the animal inches the length of his insufficient body up the cold junction of two solid walls, and hopes for spontaneous combustion or better, wings. How else does one become that milky white middle-aged woman there, wearing a hat too beautiful and walking a rather implied little dog? She is astoundingly colorless, and loves to wander around the upper west side, at times when employment obliges others inside. Fleshless lips around even yellow teeth and then eyelashes, yellow from start to finish, rise up to compliment her bleached brow. She is colorless, but not transparent, and middle-aged, viscous like cream, and inhabits a spectrum beyond color’s ripeness.
She loves her uniform: a black dress with mid-length arms, and the whole thing squeezes her flesh, with the exception of her bare shoulders, the flesh of which rises upwards to meet her neck, and she wears a variation of this dress everyday. and a hat, always a hat, that one could reasonably argue matches the black. They are fascinators, always elegantly sculpted headdresses, and essential parts of the now dead’s trousseau. She has made the lifestyle mistake of a uniform, believing it both freedom and the tools towards building a better future. I do not know what name she posses, and think it demented to try and guess.
The dog is not white.He has brown patches and looks unbrushed and wild. She, on the other hand, has creamy hair styled into submission under the retro hats and a well-oiled look, and so if we imagine the dog is her only companion, then this contrast implies a certain narcissism about her, to care for herself so apparently in her own fashion, and leave her friend to his own devices. He is not an accessory: if he were, he would also have that thick yellow coloring, but he seems to live in parallel space to his owner’s particularity. He does not trot at her side: he meanders behind her, with disinterest, while she beams blankly with her moist oculars in an upwards sort of direction.
All conjecture, really, because our interactions are limited to passing in the street, on the rare days when I go back and forth from my favorite cafe on W. 69th to the Upper East Side. She is not always glassy and interplanetary: sometimes the horrible round eyes make contact and she smiles without showing any teeth, and that is when I question how lucid I am myself. Sometimes it feels like the only certain knowledge in the year since college is the method behind most efficient way to lap Nutella from a spoon, so that it melts at a rate of constant delineation. The cheapest vegetables comes from a bodega in Chinatown, round the mysterious Mulberry bend. Men with keys loaded with cocaine up their nose are more likely to have employment opportunities than not. The things needed for the better life will cost you a week’s meals. Debt has many forms and you should try to leave this city beholden to no one single megalomanic. Ambition has a uniform that you cannot just buy.
And when you are not the youngest person in the room anymore? How soon before your imprint begins to wander along a spectrum of eccentricity, and your universe is only your own? Is she perhaps free because her problems have no echo in this world but in her own head?
My own head itches then, and I sneak a hand up under the brim of my new black hat for a quick appeasement, and then settle the brim back into place. The greatest mistake to make in this city is to have too much time to yourself, I decide, and smooth the bell of it closer to my skull. I move past the annoying thought that an identical angle of appreciation enabled both her and I to sigh with satisfaction as we settled our hats on our heads this morning, as mine is clearly more in line with both the times and also the season. Her hat includes a number of features, including a fur tail and long white feathers, and mine only makes me bear a passing resemblance to the orthodox diamond dealers in my office building. Yes, I carry on, the fun and responsibility of New York City cannot offset the inlaid beat of distress, knocking loudly today, and found in all men, and perhaps the only way to quiet it is to love others more than yourself, and that love will transform all disappointing ends into a matter of destiny, maybe.