To the Ends of the City Limit

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The streets of New York are always loud and filled above capacity with businesswomen and broke men that try to make something of their lives on a daily basis. Some of them succeed while the others fail beyond compare. I have no room to talk, stuck in between the poverty of being a runaway and the luxury of my parents.
The bus bench, however, has always been kind to me, and the people have always made me wonder. Where are they going? Are they headed up North to experience the Falls? Would they then head to Ontario? Then Quebec? Or are they headed down South to enjoy days of tanning and boogie boarding? Down to Charleston? Maybe Miami Beach? Or are they simply headed to Times Square to waste thousands on thousands of things that they won’t need after one week?
The bus stops by every day and there’s always someone new. One day it’s a nasty old man who scowls at me for taking up his passenger waiting space. There’s a sweet black lady with salt and pepper hair that sometimes tosses me a few coins in case I need to ride somewhere. It’s a private joke to me, because I don’t need her pity. She doesn’t know that. How could she? She sees me wearing jeans that are torn from my upper thighs to my calves. I sport worn tennis shoes that have doodles on every visible surface. There are even Sharpie men and women on the inside of the fabric and on the soles of my feet. She only sees a girl with no place to go that wants to go somewhere. I go somewhere every day, living through people.
There is a man across the street that holds out a McDonald’s cup and asks tourists for a dollar for food. Some pity him and slip him a five or a ten; others drop their trash in there. Was it drugs that dismantled him? Or did he drink his life away with every penny he earned and even pennies he didn’t earn? Or had he truly lost it all? In a nasty custody battle? The wrong investment in the Stock Market?
Then there was a man that was common in these parts of town. He wore a hat almost to his nose, trying to hide his face. No amount of head gear could disguise his chiseled jaw line. That Versace watch was a dead giveaway. He was in the wrong place for his name, but the right place for his sins. Who on earth would like to give away a life of Mercedes and luxury yachts to experience something thrilling and dangerous? Something that would send tingles up your spine or kisses down your neck. Everybody.
Yet their kinds of people can’t even find the courage to cross a busy intersection or even call an old, broken friend. It’s sad. And not the kind of sad that makes you want to cry, but the kind of sad that makes you want to run and be different and dare. So many nights I found myself out of breath….. from running. Daring.
There’s something about the darkness that nobody thinks to associate with the city. It invites the uninvitable, the hoodlums, the broken and the bruised. They find solace in the shacks with broken windows, still barred. The corner mart light flicks on and off at a steady pace. Why hasn’t it gone out all of these weeks?
A girl sits beside me and looks down at her toes. She can’t be any older than me, maybe even younger. She wears pink flip flops with polka dots on them. Her black jeans have a rip just below the knee above one leg and just above the knee on the other leg. She wears a purple jacket, zipped all the way up. There’s no breeze or chill. It’s July. Yet, you can tell there’s a ponytail underneath her hoodie. She looks up and smiles, pink lip gloss stain her teeth. I ask her name. Miranda. She’s going to California to be an actress. She won’t make it, but I encourage her, because it’s better to dream than to stay idle.
The bus rolls up and the mean old man scowls as if Miranda is another hooligan friend of mine. She isn’t. You can tell that he’s partially relieved that there’s only one of me. The doors slide shut. I wonder if she noticed that the bus was taking her North. The buses to California are due South.





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