Today was still one of the wintry feels in my city, which may be a large one even by the standards of New York. I think it’s not much smaller than Los Angeles, but it doesn’t mean. Because when I lived in New York, it seemed like it wasn’t just one ville, but rather at least five of them, not considering Long Island and Yale. To find you could walk from even Crown Heights to any part of Manhattan, or at least the south side in the darkest parts of thinking meant you were from a single town, but maybe two. It was always clear why Queens wasn’t where my feet took me from any part of the borough I stayed with. Later a man who didn’t want to say how much it must have eated our lust when I went coarse one evening—he was showing some kind of desire, that I knew wasn’t much—returned from where we lived in our borough to the one on the north side that he returned to when I came this Spring. I came to New York, a town though, when I was eighteen from the place I’m now back to.
It happens that in New York, what my friends always care about is who is showing our way, not what is coming up. He said it was an issue why people were or couldn’t show their fashion with coverings during the epidemic, like he used to talk about the boy who wore a hat which wasn’t in his style. Whether this is also what newcomers to Chicago wonder isn’t my specialty. What’s mine is wondering how it is that the gals I grew up with think there’s no difference between our coast and theirs. What I know isn’t what young people thinking for their makeup at bars, but what the friends of my parents ask me to notice. There happens to be reporting on the possibility of shots fired on the street, which may not be special to any place, but they said it was happening here. My here is not the here the news anchors share on cable, which is the neighborhoods on the way towards Florida, it is what those girls I spent my teen age with called Chicago eats the Upper West Side. A website called it “the area that gives no fucks,” and in fact there is a zone called the ‘Viagra Triangle’ with a restaurant that offers an “I don’t give a f&ck” tray of animals, ostensibly for the rather lusty men and women of my parents’ income. Why it would be worth telling an actual liberal arts-educated woman who carries skin like plaster and resides in an area with such places that there could be people with firearms on the sidewalk is my question. Do such kind men and women hope they are preventing me from leaving my home when it becomes night. Do they wish to chase men out of the town they live in?
Well I did recently meet a young blackish guy from one of the areas where such shotlife might be expected, though he was in my section, he said walking home. Like me, he was young, and unlike me, he was eating Twizzlers. We didn’t carry forward our date vibe, but it may have been only my fault. Men of other races often show interesting conversations to my full voice of romance, and I have in the notches mated with men of Latinx and Japanese cred, but at my most worrisome, it seems that’s not the major trendline. Frank to be, the poor sacks I’ve brought to my room haven’t been much but as white bread. Why is this a problem for the reader, who may be quite unlike the author? I’m happy to say this is not my responsibility, but you wake me on it, and that’s my desire. In places like Chicago and New York, there is not much to think about if you are like a woman who spent her whole life in cities. Somehow I feel it in my mouth when I take the wrong street, and that’s not to say there are or aren’t others walking on it. The place I lived in Brooklyn was across from a chicken yard, and my housemate called it a corridor of rape, and yes, one evening a man across the street said he wanted to rape my butt. It wasn’t that bad because it was nearly like the evening my friend brought me to a man from Southeast Asia who told me I deserved to be slaughtered because my family came from Israel. It was a party for de Sade in the summer in my hometown.
When I think about people on the street carrying guns, I remember that it would have been against my will if I hadn’t argued in a case of legal action, to say I wasn’t so sick that they should keep a file against my second right to own one in the state where trees are making like cigarettes. I don’t think I would consider myself to be out of harm’s way if I weren’t still free to choose whether I did or did not want to have a gun in the eyes of the law. I seem too ready to say everything, such as the way my boyfriend in Brooklyn had a sawed-down gun in his Bed-Stuy brownstone, propping against the wall from my view on the couch, velvet on my thighs. He read that the police station down the street would buy it for either one hundred or half that. To think I was safe with that white boy and not on the sidewalk, which is hard as asphalt, but so warm with lined greens I suit under my eyes as I pass. There are few men or women who can look at me and not see the steady face of a real officer.
Nika Sergeevna Mavrody writes plays, poems, and essays. Their work has appeared online and is primarily concerned with how the fact of fiction makes truth. They were born in Moldova and have lived for three years or more in Chicago, New York City, Berlin, Palo Alto (and other places for shorter stays). She identifies as a female assigned at birth and holds two graduate degrees.