New York, I Don’t Love You Anymore

Thomas Hawk
Thomas Hawk

I think LCD Soundsystem had it right when they said, “New York, I love you, but you’re bringing me down.”

This city used to be my heaven. It was blue and florid and electric and full of addicting grit. It was a somewhere that would fight for you, would drink your misery and crave your wicked secrets, a place that would shade your seasons into epiphanies and never ask you why? There was never asking questions.

This city would bleed its pulp for you, break skin, kick teeth, disown anyone for your heart—because you belonged here, you had given part of yourself up to it, and you allowed yourself the chance to become anyone in the world.

It was a romance.

I would look upwards and feel the shine of chrome against my skin. I would cross the street, hop puddles, breathe the smoke and winter freeze, and I knew—for certain I knew—that it’s this wild city that would harvest my best story. I was devoted to it. I was in awe of it. Until one day I woke up and realized that I wasn’t in love with New York anymore. What had once catapulted my curious mind was nothing but a whitewash blend of an almost nothingness, barely a hiccup reaction to life, a dizzying sense of days, of sameness, of disappointment.

I thought it was the cold and the black slush snow. Not doing enough yoga. Writer’s block. Drinking too much. Hating work.

I’d stare at the subway tracks, dirty water rat soup, garbage filth, dreams deadened by unstoppable chaos, unchanging. I couldn’t think anymore. The city was swallowing me. Love was impossible. Chance was null. I resented so much. I couldn’t stop cursing to myself, because if one more fucking person knocks into me I swear to God… Fuck this train.

Fuck these people. Fuck this merry-go-round. And fuck my life.

How did I get here?

I think of other places that might want me better. Anywhere but here, it felt like, and I would be happier. And it made me so sad.

Because this city had been my dream. This city was the city. And I had spent so much of my childhood craving it so hard that I almost couldn’t breathe. But I had made it, finally, and life was brilliant and drenched with opportunity, until life had become so hard for some reason, and there I was pouring empty, getting nothing back in return, trying to live this “life” I once thought was everything. It was like the affair had ended.

I wish someone had warned me that this color yellow would one day take over my every day and that I would turn so jaded and sarcastic and almost mean because of this city. I wish someone had told me how to recover from it. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. If I had to take more than one train to get there I wasn’t going.

I missed the ocean. I thought about moving to a southern city, the Midwest, somewhere greener. I thought about falling in love and moving to a house in the deep, dark woods. I could finish my novel. I could nurture my mind. I wouldn’t feel the need to be anything other than myself in silence. What day is it again? I could use a drink.

What if I moved to Seattle? Or like Texas? I could live in a house for how much I’m paying to live here in Brooklyn. The idea of that always made me nauseous. Remember when the smell of the city would feel like heroine? And spring in the neighborhoods that looked like movies felt like they could make you fly? What a long time ago that was. I just wish I had done all I wanted to do this year.

But when I think about it all I want to do is nap. And smoke a cigarette. And remember the feeling I once had when New York and I were really in love, like tragically, and all was so possible before it turned so miserable and unimpressive, like a blackish void I couldn’t crawl out of.

It felt like a breakup—that mushy in between of love and hate and what happens now? What does happen now?

The next L train in now arriving on the Manhattan bound track.

Fuck. Fuck this. TC mark

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