In a New York City Cafe

Lynn sat on the second floor of the cafe, near the window, watching the dress suits and slacks rush back to their offices after mid-afternoon lunches with their colleagues. She was in midtown somewhere, lost of course. She missed a job interview that morning and wandered aimlessly uptown, waiting for another one to start later that afternoon. The summer air was thick with moisture and Lynn regretted the time she took to straighten her hair in the morning. Her frizzy bangs hung in her tear-rimmed eyes. She had been crying all week. She tried to do things that would make her feel better; calling people to hang out, taking walks around her neighborhood but nothing helped. Her block reminded Lynn of her old childhood home and those friends never called her back. Her roommates weren’t comforting either. Since moving in, they made her feel unwelcomed. Lynn tried to sympathize with the women she lived with and showed them kindness and sensitivity. But the city had harden their faces. It seemed like New York ripped out everyone’s heart and replaces it with one casted with cement and tar. Lynn sipped her juice and wondered if she would ever become that cold.

It was always a fantasy of Lynn’s to move to New York City. Even before the city became the trendy relocation destination for the single twenty-something female, Lynn imagined herself amongst the tall buildings of the Financial District and the cobbled streets of SoHo. She saw herself thriving, finally living life to the fullest, the life she was meant to live. But that wasn’t happening. None of her dreams were coming true. She wasn’t writing for a printed publication, a goal she was hoping to achieve upon her arrival to the city. She wondered why. Lynn was always lucky with jobs. Open positions randomly fell into her lap and Lynn seized those opportunities with vigor. But that was the West Coast. New York was still suffering from the economic apocalypse that occurred two years ago. She applied everywhere, even jobs she was too qualified for. Lynn inquired about a dishwashing position at a restaurant near her home. The manager politely told her that she didn’t have New York City experience. Lynn was crushed and wept as she walked to her apartment.

Lynn entered her apartment to find her roommates laughing at something on the television set. She greeted them with a smile before they began to complain about the hallway light accidentally left on the night before. Lynn apologized profusely and retreated to her bedroom. After putting on soft music and crawling under her stiff sheets, Lynn cried herself to sleep. When she awoke in the morning, Lynn sent up a silent prayer, thankful that Joyce and Jessica were away for the morning. She fixed herself a bowl of instant oats and sat on the kitchen floor to eat breakfast. She leaned her back into the corner, where the wooden cabinet met the wall. The wood hit the stucco at a funny angle. Lynn felt the indentation against her spine and she thought about how things came together. How did people come together? Friends? Lovers? Lynn thought she has acquaintances in town but she depressingly found out she was wrong. The men Lynn found attractive out on the street looked at her frizzy hair and rolled their eyes. Lynn watched them do so and regretted breaking up with her former boyfriend. Maybe things would have been better if that last pregnancy test read positive.

Yes; moving to New York City was a mistake. She let one more tear fall down her cheek and she packed up her pocketbook. Taking one last sip of the fruit drink, Lynn threw away the bottle and left the cafe, walking into oncoming traffic.


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