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Happy & Hero: Chapter 2
I still remember the exact moment I stepped off that plane. If there is a special word to describe heart-pounding uncertainty, this moment would be plastered under description a.) in the Webster Dictionary. A gust of wind made way under sliding doors as I stood paralyzed outside of JFK airport. Yellow cabs honking at each tourist and passerby -- I felt, instantaneously, like I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. Thomas, grinning from ear to ear, turns to me and says, "Don't worry, you'll be in a warm car soon."
I want to tell our story, but it's hard.
Paris may be the city for lovers, but New York City is our city - the city of heroes, the brave, and perhaps the foolhardy. But, most of all, the misfits. Those who belong no where else find themselves somewhere among the maze of subway stations and tiny communities scattered throughout the five boroughs. We are quiet, but courageous. In no way will it ever be paradise, but it is a sanctuary. It is a jungle you can get lost in - there are many concrete corners to hide in, to write in, to draw in, to be lovers in. It's a good place for the loners and socialites, but it's marvelous for a pair of soft-pedaled lovers.
Everyone who comes to New York City comes with a dream. There is a misconception that the dream is fame or fortune. Often, it is actually freedom. Freedom to live, freedom to love, freedom to take risks, freedom to fail, and freedom to go on.
I want to tell our story, but it's hard. I want to tell you plainly what it is, but it is not that simple. Some say the best place to start is always at the beginning, but I'm only capable of starting in the middle and bleeding out until I finally fill each tight crevasse of this tale. And, of course, it is even more than that. It is so many things. It is complex, and every decision made, every path taken, has an endless, both conscious and unconscious, influences.
I think at the very core of our being, then, before the journey even began, was this desire to love without fear. But, this isn't a story of forbidden love - to say such a thing would be to assume that either of us even once considered, or were even able to consider, life without one another. It is impossible when you are in love. When real love is at the center of your life, that possibility doesn't exist. It is not even conscious. We're not thinking about loving, we're just loving.
Still, I am here to tell you a story, and a story I will try to tell.
Then, and even now, and for so many others, we simply want to live in such a way that we're 110% invested in each moment. We want to make crucial decisions at each moment in our lives, without, and this is the important part, without judgement, without the tour guide, without the chains, without the box we're put in. We don't want someone else to mark our destination on a map. We don't want someone else to give us a quest. We want to be the quest givers. And, I think, essentially, that is why we came to New York City.
Sure, if you want to talk specifics, yes, I wanted to write and live as an artist. He wanted to revisit his birthplace. And, we wanted to escape a place neither of us ever belonged. There has been nothing but endless terror and comfort along the way. And, with each stumble, our thirst to get up, to continue on, can never be quenched.
Do you ever consider that the memories that linger, those that float in and out of our consciousness, are often not those of critical moments, but often those of quietness and serenity? It is the moment in which we're laying in wet grass, and our bodies sink into damp soil, and the trees are swaying overhead - these images flash like a projector in our minds, and they're simply ordinary moments. But, for some strange reason, these moments are how we understand our humanity. I want to live in this space, this place, where I am melting into the red brick, into the people who walk along the streets - and from Harlem, to Brooklyn, to Jamaica Queens, this space, this place, this form of being, of living, it follows me.
© 2017 Jocelyn Figueroa