"Update" NYC

Safe and Sound

A little fact about New York City…every thirty seconds a siren goes off. A siren that tells the city that someone is injured. Most of the time, we are annoyed by these sirens because they are loud, they interfere with our stride walking down the street, it causes major tension for other drivers and even I am guilty of feeling annoyed at times, when that sirens gets in the way of my own selfish needs. Yet if we were the ones needing that siren we would hope that they would get to us as quickly as possible; funny how only when that siren is for us or a loved one that we actually care.

These brave people are only doing their job. A job that is to make sure that those in need are safe and sound. However, what about the kind of safety and protection that doesn’t require a siren? There are no sirens to warn you when you are about to get your heart broken and there is no one climbing a latter to rescue you when you are about to make a gut wrenching mistake. Which got me thinking…when it comes to matters of our emotions…are we ever safe and sound?

The week started off on an amazing note. I found myself sitting at my friend’s apartment on Monday night, while they informed me about their future wedding plans. I sat there, listened, gave advice and the entire time I smiled because it’s something they both want and are looking forward to. If only every couple could experience that level of excitement, commitment and anticipation. By the time I left, my thoughts went from happiness for my friends, to thinking of how intense it is to give your heart to someone else. That amount of trust that goes into giving and accepting that love from another human being and in the same token; giving your heart and soul for someone else to take care of. In many ways, when you enter that level of commitment, you are now responsible for protecting that love and making sure it never gets hurt. It’s a responsibility that doesn’t come with a manual on how to protect it. Instead, you are left to handle the love with only experiences, trust, and communication but above all else…respect.

It was already midweek and on Wednesday night, I was meeting a friend of mine at the bar, Barrage. It was the night that the tree in Rockefeller Center was being lit. As I walked from my apartment to the bar, sirens were going off everywhere. I thought, “How, on a special evening like tonight, there are people getting hurt?” Just goes to show you that no matter what the day or occasion; people out there will always get hurt and there will be people that need help. As my friend and I sat there updating each other on our lives, it felt really nice to hear him talk about his future. We haven’t been friends that long and don’t even get to see each other that often but the friendship is getting deeper with each visit. The level where we can not only share the surface things in life but also share the things that scare or plague us. After several drinks later, I walked him to the subway station, hugged goodbye and by the time I got home; there was a text message from him. He told me what a “gem” I am and how he loves the time we spend together. It’s always nice to know how you are doing as a friend. I went to bed that night feeling safe in knowing that at least I am doing one good thing in life by being a good friend to the people in my life.

8:30 in the morning on Friday and there I sat at my doctor’s office. Sitting in the waiting room and no matter if I am getting my teeth cleaned or a physical, I simply loathe anything doctor or hospital related. I was there for a routine check-up, just to make sure everything is safe and sound. I was texting with a friend about how I was nervous for them to even take my blood but he told me to relax and pointed out everything that I have learned this year alone (swimming and chopping vegetables). Turns out…everything was fine. Actually, it was more than fine; the doctor said I am healthy as a horse. After the doctor’s appointment, I did some holiday shopping and even managed to donate some clothes. It was a full day that would be followed by a full evening.

That night, the engaged couple from my Monday night, was gathering the rest of our friends to tell them the happy news of their wedding plans at, The Breslin. It was one of those rainy, cold and windy nights in the city where no one knows how to use an umbrella and wherever you land; you really don’t want to leave. Luckily, for us, we landed in a nice VIP area in the bar and bottles of champagne were ordered. Once everyone arrived, the announcements of their plans were presented and we all raised our glasses. Many more bottles of champagne, food and other drinks later; we all decided to leave as a group for a little apartment gathering. The walk from the east side to the west side left us all drenched and cold. However, that did not stop us from picking up more supplies and heading over to a friend’s apartment for a good old fashioned giggle fest. I didn’t bother looking at the time until it was much later than I had anticipated. The clock read 3:30 a.m. and that is when it was time to leave. A wonderful thing about living in New York is that your friends will always make sure you get a cab or call a car service to take you home. Making sure that you are in fact, getting home safely or at least texting you the next day to make sure you are alive.

The next day was also very special to me. It is a little holiday that my friend and I started up ten years ago called…Friendsgiving. The gimmick behind the day is that we always celebrate the weekend after Thanksgiving, so that those that spent the actual holiday with their families are able to have another special meal with their other family in New York. I picked up my friend at her apartment and from there other friends would be picking us up in a cab to head to Brooklyn for the festivities. While my friend and I were waiting for them to pick us up, we realized that we had been doing this tradition for ten years! Amazing, how times flies, our lives change and yet we still get giddy over this evening.

Everyone was in excellent spirits, the bubbles were flowing, the food was delicious and as I looked around at the table; it just felt right. Yes. I might have been one of the only single people there but it didn’t matter, the amount of love that filled the room; they were all my dates for the evening. We drank a lot, played games and around midnight the cars were called to take us back to the city. In the car back, a few of us all sat in the back seat and as we crossed the Brooklyn Bridge and the city got bigger; we all said at the same time, “I can’t believe we live here.” Maybe it was the bubbles, maybe it was the sugar rush from the all desserts but we got a kick out of saying the same thing at the same time. I went to bed that night not only with a full stomach but a heavy heart.

Yesterday morning and I looked outside my bedroom window just knowing it was freezing outside. I pulled the covers back over me and slept in. I had a date scheduled for later in the afternoon but my dating instincts told me that I would be getting the “I am sick”, “It’s too cold outside” or “Let’s reschedule” text. Sure enough, around 11 a.m., I got the text saying “I am under the weather. Busy week ahead. Sorry.” Part of me cared and the other part of me didn’t because I knew he was lying and I don’t do liars. Normally, my response would be something kind like, “Oh sorry. Feel better.” Or “Is there anything I can do?” Instead, I wrote back two letters, “O.K.” Of course, I never heard from him again.

Once that was over with, I ran downstairs to my deli, got my coffee and the New York Times and relaxed. I did that Sunday stuff that you are actually supposed to do like, clean the apartment, prep food for the week ahead and read. However, being the antsy person that I am; I couldn’t relax for too long. I showered, grabbed my laptop and headed over to my local Starbucks to write. I felt like a cliché sitting there with my laptop writing with the others but as long as I had my soy hot chocolate; I didn’t care. I knew there was snow in the forecast but had no idea when it would be arriving. I was deeply intense on my writing when I looked up and there it was…the snow. I am not a fan of anything falling from the sky or cold weather but there is something magical about snow in the city. I think for me, it is the white noise. Living here, you grow accustomed to all the noises here and then that first snow, everything and everyone shuts the hell up. The cars drive slower, there aren’t that many people on the street and the city simply changes. Once the snow began to fall, I quickly shut my laptop off and walked outside because I wanted to experience that silence. For me, even my brain goes quiet. No thoughts, no worries and so, I took myself to a wine bar and ordered a smart glass of red wine. I sat there, took my surroundings in and I was content. After my glass, I went home and read a book for the rest of the night. It was the perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Every single day we do things to protect our lives from getting hurt. We wear seatbelts; we look both ways when crossing the street, use condoms, put on sunscreen and lock our doors at night. These are the things we do without even thinking, it is programmed in us to make sure that we stay out of harm’s way. Yet, when it comes to love, some of us are either closed off and don’t allow it in. Or don’t pay attention and are constantly getting our hearts broken. I guess they only thing we can do with love is look for the signs, trust our instincts, listen our hearts and do our best to remain…Safe and Sound.

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