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Return To My Home Away From Home

By , pine bush, NY
I am a spitting image of my grandmother. Our button noses and blue eyes are identical, hers show wisdom and mine show innocence. She grew up in New York City and she always tells me that I was a natural born city girl. Her musing holds true. I am a city girl.
The train rocks back and forth as it glides on the steel tracks heading east, back towards home, back to reality. The day’s events have exhausted me to no end but the exhaustion is instantly replaced by the depressing and somber filled emotions that always creep up inside of me every time I leave my real home. I allow the rocking of the train to lull me into a memorable daydream, letting my mind return to that place, to the past, to the streets. I am a city girl.

I remember just hours before, stepping off the train at Penn Station, the steam from beneath rising and clouding my vision. I continued on and started to follow the flow of people as we all climbed up the stilled escalator to the main floor. The number of kiosks always amazes me. I never did understand why one train station needs over fifty separate kiosks and restaurants. As I turned a corner I crash into someone, they kept marching unaffected. But I could easily see who it was by their fleeting form, a soldier. Greens, browns, and blacks all blended to make the color of the uniform of an invisible man. I draw my eyes away from the camouflage and focus them on where I am going. I hear the sound of turning pages as The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal are read by the businessman in his crisp, pressed suit as he drinks his Starbucks coffee. The shrills of cell phones and loud conversations fill my ears as I walk up the stairs to the exit that spits me out in front of Madison Square Garden. The arctic air hits me in the face instantly turning my nose a crimson color. I pull my scarf up a little higher around my neck and my hat a little lower around my ears as I enter the sea of bodies. I am a city girl.
Shoulders bumping, puddle jumping, and wheels thumping; an endless cycle that is “city life,” which I plan to soon be mine. The sound of thousands of blaring car horns all blend into the city’s symphony of music. The aura of this place draws my soul in every time and every time I feel right at home. The smells, though sometimes unpleasant, draw me in as well. The sweet scent of roasted chestnuts, the greasy smell of hot dogs and shish kabobs fill the air. Industry and pollution fill my nostrils. From those aromas you know that this is the home of a metropolitan area, a city. My city. I am a city girl.
It is Christmastime and the entire city is decorated in green, red, gold, and silver; from the lights at the top of the empire state building, to the window displays in Macys. The spirit of giving sweeps through the buildings and alleys, wrapping itself around me in a warm embrace. I hand the homeless guy on the ground a five-dollar bill. Christmas carols are being song in Time Square and children ice skate in Rockefeller Center, their blades scraping across the frozen water creating shavings of snow. The bustling crowds are gathering around the tree in the middle of the Center as they anticipate the lighting. A tree that would ever be unchanging and brings cheer to world. I push my way through so I can get a view of the massive evergreen. When the clock chimed six, thousands of lights flashed on, Oohs and Ahs were heard from the crowd. The things I see in the city always astonish me, even if it’s as simple as someone flipping a switch. I am a city girl.
Click Clack Click. I turn my head towards the sound of a horses hooves pounding at the pavement as a horse-drawn carriage pulls up to the curb next to me and a young couple clamber down from the coach. I always love the way it felt to ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets of Manhattan and ending in Central Park. I climb up the steps into the coach as soon as they leave. I begin my trip pulling out into the middle of traffic. A taxi on my left and a double-decker tour bus on my right, adrenaline rushes through my veins. The driver yanks the reins toward the left as the entrance into Central Park comes into view. The rush of a fast paced day comes to a halt just as the carriage ducks under the “East Entrance” sign. The brisk winter breeze whips my hair into my eyes and I brush the tendrils away with my mitten-covered hand. My body bounces on the velvet seats as one of the wooden wheels hits a stray rock. It’s quiet this time of night the only sound is the wind blowing through the trees. The tranquility relaxes me; everyone needs a break from the chaos that the city entails, even if it’s only ten minutes. I am a city girl.
I am taken away from my daydream prematurely, much to my disappointment by my own reality. A reality I’d rather not accept. The train jerks to a stop, a robotic voice crackles over the loud speaker, “This is the final stop.” I stand and stretch my legs, my bones popping back into place. I grab my silver and lavender Coach bag off the seat next to me as I move towards the sliding doors. I exit the train, exiting the past and stepping out into the reality. I am a city girl.





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