the actress and i were sitting in front of a wide open bar window on a friday night. i was sipping a house made sangria, she had a glass of whiskey.
i look inside of houses all the time. i am fascinated, that every window contains another life with the same kind of heartbeat, breath, troubles and joys that i have too. there’s a word for it, i’ve learned recently: sonder. it’s overwhelming, in the city, to see giant crowds of people and know all of the same have the same little self obsessed universe that i do. it’s all so large, when you really think about it. it makes me anxious sometimes, walking down broadway every night, glancing up at the empire state building, pushing through crowds.
in any case, i like looking in the windows of strangers. it’s voyeurism, but of the curious kind, not the creepy kind. Also, i like to see furniture. on the third floor of a nondescript building someone leaned out and surveyed the street below – i could only see him in shadow, he was lit from behind. and i invented, as we all do, a little story for him in my head, of how he was taking a break from getting ready for a night out. how he was looking up and down the street before putting on his button down and joining the rest of the bros in the lower east side to do shots until way too late and try to bring home a girl in a bandage dress and nude pumps.
i understand what people chase in new york. or at least, part of it. i tried, too. i was never thin enough or pretty enough or had the right clothes or enough craziness to let go the way you need to to give over to night, here, but i tried. when i realized it wouldn’t be mine, i just wasn’t the right kind, i walked away and found other things. i had an intense amount of fun, but i never really fit. and i’m still trying to figure out, always, where i belong.
the man leaning out of the window reminded me that you don’t get time back. i’ll never have the time back where i am new to the real world and stomping glittering streets until four am. i’ll never have college with stone buildings and sense of crisp academia and finals and the ability to make learning a foundation of my world. i’ll never have youth, though i really never felt i did.
you can’t go back, not ever.