I grew up to live in the city I think I’ve hated all of my life.
People laugh when I tell them that New York is the world’s largest small town. They think it’s an amusing anecdote that natives produce for tourists and newcomers, like pulling a rabbit out of a top hat.
For I have haunted these streets and forgotten things and learned things and done things that they will never know, see, or do. They don’t recall subway stations that didn’t have armed military personnel with M-16 rifles guarding them. They don’t recall when staying on the 6 train after the last stop and waiting for it to look to the only City Hall station was a city secret and not a tourist “only in NYC” tidbit to be found in a tour guide.
They don’t know this city like I do, like I know the different man hole covers tell you the history of what company did what and where and when.
They don’t know what its like to walk the same path to school for so many years that you know every shop-owner (and they know you) and to know how the skyline, the fabric, the threads, and the buttons and hemlines and cracks in the sidewalks have shifted and grown and changed and flexed, heaving with every new wave, panting with every new denizen, and keening for every lost one.
This is my hometown, this is my small town, this city, this city might as well be a one-stoplight town in the middle of the Dust Bowl and as boring as cows chewing cud and watching the grass grow.
And I live in the heart of it, in the center of it, at the top of the world. The greatest city in the world, the Big Apple, the big enchilada, if you can make it here you can make it anywhere.
I’ve made it here. I am here and I’m so, so very tired of it all.
The story’s gotten a little old. The tapestry’s a little worn. I need a new little town to hang my hat.
Any place looking for a former-New Yorker, a world-weary broken quarter-horse? She’s looking for you.