There was a walk I took through Central Park once. I was alone. I was all by myself with nothing else to do. There was no place else to go and no one else to see. I think they call this “Me” time.
I was at the tail end of a bad job with a suit and tie type of lifestyle. Or, more accurately, I was just a kid in a suit.
I was selling woven labels and identification items to garment manufacturers at a place over on 33rd St.
This was literally one of the worst and most uninteresting jobs that I ever had. I was young and trying my best to impersonate a grown-up. I had a job though. I had the briefcase. I wore a suit and read the newspaper on the train. I drank coffee from a Styrofoam cup with the little plastic lid, flipped upwards.
I tried my best to fit in. I did my best to dress well and play the part of a young, hotshot salesman. I tried but deep down, I knew this was not for me.
I knew there was no passion for me here. I hated my co-workers, especially Elly (short for Eleanor) and her son Marc—he was the lead salesman and a thief of a human. I hated everyone there except for Eric. He was the stock boy. Eric was a friend. He was a good man, kind to others even if they were unkind to him. He was simple, no nonsense, and goodhearted. it was hard not to like a guy like him.
I hated most of my customers too. I hated the rejection and the constant cold-calling and the phone calls, in which I had to introduce myself to new accounts to schedule a meeting, and then try and create a relationship.
Towards the end of my stay at this position, my world began to open up to me. I was meeting new people. I met a new girls and made some new friends. My girlfriend (at the time) was drinking too much. She had her problems, which I accepted because, well, let’s face it; I was insecure.
Besides, her heart and mind was always someplace else. She cheated on me a few times. In fact, she even called me another man’s name while in the midst of an intimate exchange.
Of all things, I have never experienced such a blow to my ego like this one. I never felt this broken before. I felt foolish and pitiful. Moreover, I have never been as humiliated as I was the time my so-called girlfriend called me another man’s name while she and I were making love.
I decided to cross a line and move away from the routine faces in the crowd. I was growing now, getting older, and learning new things. I was maturing a little and finding my own way.
Some of my friends, like say, a guy who I will name Rob for example; he and I were never really friends. We were just people in each other’s life for a period of time to fill a purpose.
I had to get away from him. I had to get away from him and other people like him. I had to get way from the fake crowds and the plastic smiles that were as sharp as the knives they saved for your back.
In an effort to find something or feel something other than how I was or what I was used to; I wanted to live better and feel better. My love life was toxic, and at best, I was only self-serving in any of my new romantic attempts. I was on the verge of a change. I needed to find my entry to the next chapter and find a way to turn the page.
And like I said, I was alone but not in a bad way. It was autumn, and God, I love my city in the autumn months.
I love the smell in the air. I love the falling leaves from the trees in Central Park. I took a walk there just to watch the horses and carriages take happy couples for a tour through the city.
I watched couples cuddle close beneath a blanket in the back of the carriages. I recall their smiles. I recall the spirit of their love which to me, was amazing.
I wondered what it would be like to be one of those people, sitting next to the love of my life, cuddled close, and thinking about the intimate encounter that would hopefully come later.
I wanted this too. And why not? Why wouldn’t I want to feel love like this.
I wanted to feel love.
I wanted to feel the lust for love. I wanted the lust. I wanted the dream and I wanted the paradise. More accurately, I wanted the bliss of waking up next to the love of my life in some apartment in the city.
There is something about this city of mine. There is a certain romance here that cannot be seen or felt anyplace else in the world.
I grant that my city is different. We have our own language and an accent to go along with it.
Ever see the tree at Rockefeller Center when it lights up at Christmas time?
Ever sit in a coffee shop or walk around downtown and count the crazy people you see with someone you love?
Ever find a love so literally amazing that everything else in the word subsides to a slow and unimportant crawl when you’re together?
Ah, this city . . .
She inspires me.
I don’t see her the same way anymore.
The city, I mean,
I’ve grown some. I’ve aged quite a bit since then.
So has my city though. So have you.
But rest assured that my love will never grow old and if it is up to me, neither will I.
Neither will you . . .