May 15th, 2007

Unanchored

We’ve been thinking about buying an apartment. Here. In the City of Apartments that People Somehow Find Enough Money To Afford. We’ve been spending weekends going to Open “Houses” (read, Open 2-bedroom apartments smaller than my college dorm room), and we’ve even put a couple offers down here and there. We’re being pretty nonchalant about all of it, going where the wind blows us (mostly up northward, toward the tip of the island), stopping every once in awhile to ask each other, what is it, exactly, that we think we are doing again?

Some days, it just feels so right. This city. This noisy, crazy, dirty city with its yellow taxis dotting the streets like hurried tulips, smells from the diner wafting out into the street, the sound of forks tinkling against glass from inside, and always, always the hum of traffic.

Jack and I run down to the river and bounce from sandbox to sandbox. Mama, dig! Digga sand! Digga hole! Digga tunnel fa Dack! I am one of a multitude of parents here, throwing our kids into the air, catching them at the bottom of the slide, casually wiping snotty noses and dirty faces off with sleeves, shirt, bare hands. I am a part of this something, I think, I get what it means to be here, now. It’s like a little glowing grain of sand in my hands, this sometimes shred of meaning that comes to me in waves, in this multitude of people and children all loving each other and laughing and weaving through each other on crowded streets.

And then there are other days. Days when this place just isn’t big enough. Where I am suspended up here on the 6th floor, looking down onto hard, gray concrete surfaces, feeling all the bodies and noise harshly and discordantly. These are the days when I need to lay it all down. Find a place where I can dig my hands into soft ground. Where I can dig in deep and spread out. Ooze out into a space of my own and call it all mine. Ours. Mine and my boys’. A place where I can raise a gaggle of boys, all scruffy and dirty and sweaty and untied shoelaces and grass-stained. Pile them all into my canoe and float right out over the Hudson into the East River and out to the Atlantic. Head up to Nova Scotia, maritime, salty air and heavy boots, the kind that give you weight, the kind that keep your feet firmly planted.

This city, man, this city. Some days I can’t see the contours of where I end and it begins. And some days that’s a good thing. But on others, I need to throw out an anchor, feel tied again to the center.

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Posted by: Sarah on May 15th, 2007
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