I look up and see no stars. New York City, the hooker of my wildest dreams, hid them all from me. I seek her light while strolling down her avenues, feeling the blood of her crowd pumping through my veins like a heroin rush. It does not calm me down, but excites me more, and I want a fix of solitude to forget about it all.
New York City made me stronger, as much as it weakened me, day by day, night by night, leaving me with no rest and no hope that things will improve. I love her so much, it’s hard to define our relationship because I also hate her a lot. I disagree with her rules, and despise her popularity, but as much as I loathe her success, I still bathe in her fame when she gives me the attention I deserve. I feel like a queen on a dirty street corner, under the flashing neon of a strip club, next to the bar where I finish my cigarette and exchange a few friendly words with strangers I will never meet again.
It’s all so fast, in that city that never sleeps. I hear a million different languages when I run to my destination, the music in my ear buds almost deafening me while I try to ignore the car honks and the tourists walking nonchalantly down the block, not really knowing where to go next. I panic and become rude, dodging all the obstacles put in my way, moving faster than the wind, and always looking straight ahead. If I actually took the time to slow down, I would have noticed the beautiful architecture of a building, or that store where they sell ridiculous garments that are too expensive for my taste.
This is New York. I could tattoo her on my skin and become a zombie crawling in her underground. She repulses me and makes me want to leave her forever, but I always come back after a while. I miss her like an angry lover, and I make it up to her by giving her my soul, late until dawn, feeling invincible and beautiful, drunk and high, begging her to take me back.
How did I fall in love with her eleven years ago? Love knows no boundaries and offers no rational explanation. It just happened. I loved her from the start, as soon as I got off the plane and carried my heavy suitcases to the car. It was late at night and the city lights were on. When I saw the skyline from Queens, I let out a gasp. It felt magical, like in a dream. I visited the popular places, and admired her beauty, inside and out, always desiring her more, never wanting to go back home. I was 17 and I promised myself I would live here someday. I would work in a tall building and have an apartment in Manhattan. Every morning, I would wake up and greet the concrete jungle.
Today, when I think back and realize how much I wanted to be here, I know why I worked so hard for it. I made my dream come true. I made it all happen, the job, the apartment and now this. Writing. My biggest reason to live and breathe, to exist and to think, and to aspire to be more than I could ever imagine.
I came to New York out of love, and I stayed because I could not be anywhere else. I want to dedicate my success to this city, who gave me everything and allowed me to find myself, the true tormented and insatiable writer that I progressively became out of the endless struggle of always being the underdog. I offer her my talent and she reciprocates by giving me inspiration.
To this day and to my last, she will always be my soul mate. She defines me and reinvents me, over and over again, like a cycle of life. This is all to you, New York City. And I thank you for it.