I watched the streets and buildings awaken. Windows began to light up, joggers rushed passed, messengers hustled, cabs lingered around, and coffee shops started to bustle.
People walked around with their faces to the ground. Their noses were hidden behind clunky knit scarves. Their hands stuffed in puffy coat pockets. I had been walking for hours and I hadn’t made eye contact with a single person. I didn’t feel ignored though. It wasn’t that they couldn’t see me; they chose not to. They worried and focused on their own lives as I had done to mine for so many years – until now.
I walked with my face to the sky. For the first time in a long time I could feel the air I was breathing. It coursed through my lungs and raced within my body. I smelled the precipitation lingering above the tallest buildings. I unzipped my own heavy coat and after ripping them off, I stuffed my gloves into my pockets. I felt a raindrop roll down my cheek. I looked up at the clear sky. No, not rain. I wiped my fingers across my cheek and felt a warm tear that had escaped me.
What had this new place done to me? I was ignored, pushed, barked at by a dog and his owner, and someone spilled coffee on me. I had never felt more alive.
Welcome to New York is probably what they meant to say.