There are certain things which are hard to say aloud. For me in particular, words become real in the atmosphere, each sound hanging heavy once it’s released. The act of having to control the sounds as they escape is what gets me. That’s what makes something real, however intangible it may actually be. For some reason, writing it down is much easier. I can still pretend it’s a work of imagination, I can still manipulate the sentence. I often say I exclusively write fiction. It’s simple. Really. No hard facts, just soft details. Light pouring in through the window, cats hissing on the neighbor’s fence. I don’t know when it becomes fact, a small feather from my comforter stuck on my eyelash. These moments are about Brooklyn, aren’t about anything. Just stopovers in life, the easy parts to talk about.
There are many questions I never know how to answer with my voice. “What’s up?” “Why didn’t you text me back?” “When are you going to finish your Master’s?” Questions in which words don’t exist for. I will never have an answer each inquisitor finds sufficient. What’s up is I was a jerk the other night and I’m still trying to figure out how to correct it. Fact. Because I was more concerned with figuring out how see through my shirt was and forgot. Fiction. Because I am in this transition and I keep thinking I’m going home, but late at night I’m not really sure. Fact.
Recently, the question I keep getting asked is “why did you leave?” Why does anyone leave? Leaving is what I’m best at. A few months here, a few months there. They say you take yourself where you go, they say you can be whoever you want. I was good there, I was not here. I wonder if the best nap I ever had was on the J train past Broadway junction. Bleary eyed, very early in the morning. New York is a place to be part of something, a place to remember you aren’t special. It’s a place where things rarely take you by surprise.
So, why did I leave? Why do we care? Something Hemingway said from his short stories always stuck with me, “Some other places were not so good but maybe we were not so good when we were in them.” Anyway, maybe that’s why I left. Maybe something about New York, something about Brooklyn. Something about myself, I wasn’t so good when I was there.
These are all stories, little anecdotes anyone could have. Moments shared to know we aren’t alone. So, I write because I know the answer. The ones who look know too. The romanticized answer, the one the hopeful see. I won’t say it and I never will. It will stay thoughts, no vibration adding to the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter why, what matters is I left. The piece that matters is I wasn’t very good, but I am going to be. Because here is where I am, and for the first time in a long time, I want to stay. Fact.