Biking from Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge in January means that you will cry. The wintry wind will whip across your face and the salt from the tears will stain it. I wake up at 4 A.M. every morning, get on my bike, and pedal towards Yorkville, on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It is a daily pilgrimage that takes an hour.
The first signs of light penetrate the low-lying fog on the East River. The sun is formless at this hour—a force to be raced against. I must make it to Carl Shurz Park to watch it rise and have some time to reflect.
To reflect, on all those who have wronged me.
Gossamer waves lash the shores of Roosevelt Island as the barges pass soundlessly and kick up wakes. I regard the procession of boats and their oil drums dreamily as my heart rate begins to slow.
I know Brian didn’t wish me a happy birthday on purpose. We have been friends for 3 years and I vouched for him when he got that DUI. Why doesn’t he like me?
I sit on the park bench overlooking the river and practice being present— feeling every part of my body. I run my fingers over the damp wood of the bench. The sun begins to break through the fog. Like a glimmering sword of molten steel unsheathed by a Norse god, sun fragments glint off the Roosevelt Island lighthouse so spectacularly that it resembles a torch that sports the enduring flame held aloft by an Olympian.
Why did Rebecca only give me a side hug at the party last night when I was leaving? It was such a cold and brief embrace. The way her hand just hovered over my mid back signaled, I don’t know, she was weirded out or something? How can I know? What does this mean?
My job starts any minute now. Just to feel the direct sunlight on my face lets me know that there is at least some force out there greater than me. Lost in the nothingness of life sometimes, of the acknowledgment that is life is suffering, all I have to do is pick the suffering and I can at least retain some sense of self, some modicum of control in the swirling black hole of uncertainty that the next five years will bring.
Five years ago, my roommate said he would allow me to keep his couch and then, two days before he moved, said that he was “actually, um, going to take it with him to Portland.” The friendship is over.