New York's 5 Senses

July 23, 2009
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Cars zoom along the streets below my quiet little window on the top floor. As I lie on my bed and think about life and everything else I could possibly think about, I listen to the sounds of cars honking, and people talking, and dogs barking. I imagine what it would be like to be a twinkling star in the dark sky, but that is already what I am. I am a twinkling star in the night sky, but in New York City, nobody notices the stars because they are too busy living their lives. It is as though stars in New York are almost invisible. And that is what I am.
I listen to the gossip from down below. The secrets being passed along like a dish of gravy on Thanksgiving. I faintly hear the laughter of children that should be inside, but are having too much fun to realize that it’s past midnight. And that it’s New York City. I hear the quiet whispers of two sisters sneaking out onto their roof top to reminisce about their lives together. And if I listen closely I can hear a young teenage couple beneath the door frame below, clutching each other closely, not wanting to say their goodbyes for the night. I listen to the couple next door argue over bills, and babies and bad relationships. I wonder if happiness is just the name of the game, but the twist is that in the end no one is happy.
I feel the fuzzy blanket over my legs and the hand-made quilt over my torso. I feel the cool breeze through my window, but it’s the last thing I want to feel because when the air hits me I can feel the pollution spread over the top of me and make a third blanket which surrounds me completely. I feel the nauseating air push my hair which tickles my neck. I feel my cold fingers against my neck to push my hair out away from me. I feel the tension move through the wall into my room after the argument next door suddenly stops. I feel the floor beneath my bed vibrate from the apartment below. Toilets in New York seem to be connected, like one big happy white porcelain family. I also feel alone, despite the sounds that surround me.
I smell the perfume of woman below making her way home, transforming from mistress back into happy wife and mother. I can feel the warm aroma of the bakery across the street fill my room with smells of chocolate and sugar. I can smell the leftover scent of what was our dinner and what is now just scraps sitting on the counter. I smell the scent of my shampoo in my hair from my quick shower just a little while ago. I sniff the air and smell a small trace of my favorite smell, my grandpa. He smells of Old Spice, cigars and gasoline and it is the most comforting smell in the world to me. I finally get a whiff of the sick car exhaust and remember that I am still, sadly, in New York and wish that I wasn’t.
I taste the exhaust in my mouth and quickly think of something to forget about it. I can taste the remains of dinner still stuck in the crevices of my teeth. I still some-what taste the frozen yogurt from my favorite shop, which I walk to every night. I taste the air in my room, which sticks to my tongue like glue. I can taste the soap from my shower and I have no idea why. I can taste my mother’s goodnight kiss which tastes of red lipstick, Crest toothpaste and spearmint gum. I can still savor the aroma of my grandpa, which definitely smells better than it tastes. I can taste the passion in the air outside, because night is when the young never sleep.
I can see the microscopic lumps in my ceiling if I squint hard enough. I see my room, filled with everything from gifts to posters to unnecessary clutter. I get up to go sit on my window sill. I look outside and the first thing I see is, of course, the bright lights of New York City. Most people that haven’t been here would love to see them, but I just think they are annoying. I look down and see a normal night consisting of cars and lights and people. I see a young woman dressed up, helping her mother make her way to the nearest restaurant for a surprise 80th birthday bash. I see a boy crying on his door step after having his girlfriend break his heart. I look up a little and see a group of young girls in their room dancing to their favorite song and laughing the whole time. I look to my right and see a man in the next apartment sitting in his recliner watching some game show and eating his late dinner. I shut my window and look back into my room at my bed that seems to be just where I want to be.
I lie down on my bed once more and stare at my ceiling as I do every night. I debate with myself about what I should think about tonight, but can’t quite decide. Life is so complicated and full of things that I know I’ll never be able to figure out, and I don’t know why I even waste my time thinking about it. I imagine once again the same picture in which I am a star, a twinkling, shining, sparkling star. And not just a New York star, but a star in which people look at me and realize that I have a purpose and realize that I am there. Too bad, so sad is what I tell myself. One day, all the lights in New York will shut off completely, and then everyone will look up at the sky and realize that there are such things as stars. And then they’ll see me, shining brighter than any other star out there.





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