A New York Day
by Yolanda Nabors
Find warmth. It was the last thought before her mind had frozen in the middle of a New York gloomy street. She lifted her foot onto the curb and hopped on the sidewalk with rude pedestrians rushing past with little bumps and thumps of shoulders and bags. She stood her ground by locking her calves and peering around her.
She was lost. Had been lost for two days. She had taken the New Jersey train to New York. It didn't matter where in New York since she was long lost before she had even left New Jersey. She ended up in the City. With nothing but her ankle length red tweed coat over jeans and a sweatshirt, a black skullcap, and cheap knit gloves unraveled by each of her fingernails, she had nothing. She had come from something but left it behind. Left everything but her mind and the clothes on her back.
Her feet and fingers were frozen. She struggled to ponder her next step as she vigorously rubbed her hands together. Then it came to her after a customer opened the Chinese restaurant door and warmth rushed out briefly against her face. Coffee.
She began slowly moving against the wind, glancing to her right at every store. Every hour had been like this one--think, move, stop, think, move, and stopÉ
Before then, she had dumped her book bag of pictures, soap, toothbrush, a skirt, pumps, and blouse outside of the train station on 8th Avenue yesterday. She couldn't move a step further until she did so. Those pictures of the baby that she lost a year ago kept crying in her bag. People around her had given her annoying stares when she tried to hush it on the train.
She was aware that the crying was all in her head, yet it was driving her crazy. She was aware that she was running away from the trees she had planted years ago that she vowed to see grow to her death. It was a heavy promise to keep of something that didn't marry, love, or trust.
She kept hearing her boyfriend's laughter. One afternoon she had come home to surprise him with a romantic lunch. Reaching the bedroom door, she heard his familiar moaningÉ
All these things she had heard weren't hers to keep. They belonged to God and another woman. The rage that suddenly warmed her momentarily also moved her quicker than she had been moving in two days. She fled up the street, now bumping and thumping others of her own. Verbal reactions bellowed at her back but she didn't seem to hear words anymore. She lowered her head, huffed, and pushed her scrawny legs past Italian aromaÉburger aromaÉdonut aromaÉand then finally she halted.
Removing her gloves as her breath fogged her eyesight, she took in one deep inhale. Coffee. Sleepwalking for days, she recognized her sense of relief, aware that she had shut off all feelings and the consequences of these feelings to numb her pain.
Two children squealing with laughter dashed past her, twirling her around in the hard, cold wind. Their father rushed past her next, chasing after them in a playful manner. She watched them with amazement, envy, and disgust. How could someone-anyone-be so happy on a day like this?
It was cold out on this New York day. She threw her eyes to the sky. It was bland, dreary, and threatening snow. She jerked her face around those that passed her. They were marching along like unhappy ants trying to get inside and hibernate. They were red, pasty, flushed, and tear-streaked from being bumped, held up in feet traffic, and annoyed by the street peddlers.
Then to her dismay, there were some who were coupled together and window-shopping. They had the whitest teeth, the clearest eyes, and the pinkest cheeks. They were in no hurry as their love nest was the nearest restaurant, a park bench, or right there in the middle of traffic. Sadness washed over her but anything that had to do with anyone else held little dwelling.
An insane laugh sounded but she wasn't aware that it was her own. She was fixated on the bright yellow and blue flashing light announcing warmth. She seemed to float inside 424 Coffee Maker Inc., wearing her soul on the outside of her coat.
A waitress motioned her to sit down at a booth and she did so with little acknowledgement of her surroundings. Her mind defogging, she stared at the sugar jar in shape of a snowman. And without conceding that the waitress knew exactly what she wanted, she lifted the head off the snowman and dumped three cubes in her large coffee. Hands shaking, she then gave a dash of crme from the Mrs. Snowman.
The crme began to swirl around the coffee magically, turning from black to light brown. It entwined into caramel and chocolate streaks. Mocha then engulfed the darkness altogether into a sweat smelling hazelnut. She watched with intensity as the transformation of something good to something better had suddenly made sense.
She had never understood why her baby died of that Sudden Death Syndrome, why the father loved someone else the same way he loved her or why any of this hurt so bad. But she realized that she did have something goodÉ
Now she's going to have something better by starting over. First, by starting with this coffee.
She laughed in her high pitch cackle again. The waitress watched her with her own intensity and felt appreciated for her job.