Dear Mama, I’m writing to you from Madison Square Park. It’s an absolutely perfectly gorgeous summer evening. I’m about to spend some much needed girl time with (a friend). I got accepted into those free writing classes – I’m really looking forward to this. This will be good for me, right? It smells like a Kansas summer evening almost and it makes me think of family get-togethers, barbecuing at grandma’s house – God – how I wish my future children could experience that with you one day. It breaks my heart that they won’t. I often find myself in New York City parks, alone, sitting on a bench, writing and pondering life, loneliness and the pursuit of happiness. Hmmm, maybe I should title my memoir, “My Life according to New York City Parks.” Haha – what do ya think? You did, after all, pretty much name my EP, which has been receiving some unexpected attention as of late. That’s part of the reason why I’m going to take a songwriting class in addition to a memoir writing class. God – I wish you were here, ma, so I could just be talking to you on the phone about all of this. I’m so fortunate to have Norma in my life. I know David and I will make it through this but in the meantime, what do I do? Am I strong enough to keep my distance from the man I just vowed to spend the rest of my life with? I know I am. It’s going to be “kicking the habit” that’s the hard part. I’m so tired of his childish behavior. I know for a fact that you’d be disappointed if you were here, too. I love you, mama – will write soon.
I am unable to recall exactly what David and I were going through during the time I wrote the above letter though whatever it was, was quickly overlooked due to a fatal shooting outside the Empire State Building the following afternoon. I, thankfully, had gotten to work early that morning and did not get caught in the hysteria that ensued just two blocks away from my place of employment. As the news spread, my cell phone was ringing from concerned family members and the man I had married just a little over a month prior, who up until this tragedy hadn’t spoken to me for over twenty-four hours. He insisted on rushing over to Manhattan from our Brooklyn apartment to put his arms around me. I guess a disgruntled and armed former employee had put our “silly little fight” into its proper perspective.
Upon his arrival, David expressed how grateful he was that I was all right and that we could stand there, embracing one another at that moment. I was seemingly about twenty minutes shy of being in the wrong place at the wrong time but something was wrong about the fact that it took a man being deceased and several other wounded bystanders to make David see this – something just felt iniquitous. This may lie on the morbid side of things but I am seeing the foreshadowing of my relationship’s demise within an unfortunate event and by no means do I intend to belittle or compare the disaster that occurred that ill-fated morning of August 24th, 2012 but David and I were quickly, intentionally though mostly unconsciously wounding each other.
As for those writing classes I was so excited to tell my mama about, I attended one of them – the memoir one – in which I recall two momentously memorable pieces of – briefly reading my writing aloud in front of a room full of strangers and the treacherous rain that had begun as the class neared its end resulting in my walking several blocks in the downpour to the nearest subway station.
Just two short but life-changing years ago, I was understandably and completely a different person with no ambition or drive. I’m sure I simply conjured up what appeared to be the best justification as to why I couldn’t attend the other classes and the funny part was that the only person I had to justify myself to was I. The post-death-of-my-parents lack of motivation and zeal for life was a vicious cycle that truly only harmed I, as the post justification was grounds for self-disapproval and self-loathing.
The barbecue smell, to this day, causes painful nostalgia. Just this past Sunday, I caught a whiff of someone nearby cooking out and I longed for days of yesteryear, all of my family gathered in grandma’s backyard, playing baseball and getting down on some barbecued chicken wings, potato salad and green beans. Don’t live in the past, they say. Be in the present, they say. Don’t dwell, they say. Hell, I even say it sometimes but one cannot help but fucking yearn for “the good ol’ days,” a time when pre-dinner was spent in hunt for additional chairs because half of your family wasn’t deceased and there simply weren’t enough seats around the dining table for all the warm bodies.