Todd was walking by the university office when he looked up and saw a group of plants all pressed against the window. He stopped for a moment, as if caught in a net. Why did these plants seem to call out to him, he wondered. He tried really hard to imagine what was on the other side of that window. It looked so innoucous at first glance, but these plants clearly were put there by someone, possibly to make the room seem more cheery and now, here they were, choking off all of the light, wilting, trying, it seemed, to escape.
He went back to his apartment in the east village, a six floor walkup. The space was like a closet and he was glad to finally be rid of it, though a small part of him was really sad to go. This was the first place in New York that had housed him, the first place here that made him feel like he belonged. Even if the steam heat was oppressive when it was hot, and non-existant when it was cold, even though he had to always think twice before running errands or leaving, lest he have to climb those stupid fucking steps again, and even though his roommate had more products in the bathroom than that 2 foot excuse for a lavavortory could even dream to hold, it was his.
He was sitting in his room, building boxes, thinking maybe he should just stop, cancel his move, stay here, just a few more months, maybe another year. What’s the point of grad school anyway? Will he be any better off than he is right now?
He thought to call Emily, and ask her what to do. He knew that on some level she would say the things he wanted to hear, that everything will be better once he makes this transition, that he clearly wanted to do this thing, otherwise he wouldn’t have spent so many hours working on his essay, getting personal recommendations together, studying for the GRE’s. But Todd wasn’t so certain. Maybe he just liked applying, because it gave him a sense of hope. When it was ridiculously cold outside, he needed to have a glimmer of something to look forward to, but now that it was nice out he couldn’t understand why he was leaving.
It was the total New York connundrum. If you are here in September, it’s gorgeous, with fall and Woody Allen homages everywhere, and then when the leaves start to fall and Christmas is upon us, it’s sort of magical. But after New Years there are those five months of shear darkness, the horrible cold months, that break your spirit, and cause the average New Yorker to think, “Screw it, as soon as it gets warm, I’m out of here.” But when it does finally become bearable, with the two weeks of glorious spring, it’s hard to imagine leaving, like seeing the fuckbuddy you constantly fight with suddenly put on a bathing suit.
Todd, got up from the floor, determined not to spend the next six hours just looking at old photos, reminescing about his old places, thinking of the history of all of his miserable crap. Instead he took a deep breath and called the administration of his school, determined to put his enrollment on hold, as long as they’d let him.
But before he got through, he hung up.
“What the hell am I doing?” he asked himself.
He went into the fridge and looked around, poking his nose into his roommates tupperwear and grabbed a piece of cold chicken out of some sort of “salad” she had concocted. Who’s food would he steal if he left? And the chinese restuarant on the corner, how long had it taken for them to learn his order by face? Smiling when he would run in across the street from the video store, greeting him to a thickly accented: “Tsao Chick'n!”
He started to wonder if it was normal to have pangs like this as he opened the window and sat on the fire escape smoking a cigarette. Down on the street, a group of Puerto Rican kids were playing what looked like freeze tag, laughing. He wanted to stop them, stop this moment, freeze it himself, and stay here, where everything was easy. Breezy.