City Sinners

Vignettes of loneliness in manhattan

6am, Wednesday, Upper West Side

She watches him get dressed. It’s the last time, ever, she’ll watch him get dressed.

They hug for a very long time. He’s bent over the bed and she lies in it, her arms around him, pulling him down into her. She runs her fingers through his hair on the back of his head and squeezes gently. He removes slowly from the embrace and they kiss, lightly.

"I’ll see you soon." She says. It won’t be soon.

He starts to walk away. He tugs at the blanket by her hip, then by her calf. He walks away from the bed, and toward the door.

Before he leaves, he looks back at her. “I’ll see you soon, Lil.”

The door closes and she thinks she will cry but barely anything comes.

She gets up and marks the day on her calender with “Goodbye” in small letters.

Croxley Ale House

"Can’t we just have a normal time hanging out?" His tone isn’t mad, it is very calm.

She remembers what it feels like to lose someone; it feels like this.

27TH & 3RD

She wakes up. Everything is hazy and she feels the weight of intoxication swirling through her head.

"Why am I here?"

"You told me to take you here," the taxi driver retorts.

"Take me away from here, please."

She’s befuddled. As they drive away from the apartment he used to live in she’s sad for herself. She thought she was over him. And she is, she realizes, she’s over him, she’s just not over what they had, and the fear that she will never find that again.

A Rooftop Bar, Somewhere in Lower Manhattan

Picture a room. The room is a sleek white bar, very minimal, on a rooftop downtown. It is filled with close-talking, sharply-dressed men and women, drunkenly, flirtatiously touching and smiling. You stand alone and your black dress grazes dangerously close to the upper most part of your thigh.

Now imagine the moon, big and white, shining upon the city lights, which glimmer back as fallen stars. From the bar on the roof your eyes catch a small light from an airplane, thousands of miles away, cutting through the sky. The light blinks in and out, slowly, steadily, and as your eyes follow it, they reflect its pattern. There is a subtle but deep sadness reflected as well, and at first it is difficult to distinguish whether this melancholy belongs to you or the moon.

And looking at you I know you, the type of girl who wants to be anywhere but here. Not here as in this room, this bar, this moment, this city; here as in her life.

As soon as I recognize this, I love you instantly, as I do all of the girls like you. For that moment when your eyes lock with mine my chest warms and speeds in rhythms only reserved for your kind. Your gaze cries to me, “need me, want me, have me,” because you crave to be with someone, just someone; anyone other than yourself.

Can you feel my hand lightly around your forearm, reaching for you as you pass by me? Can you taste the drink I buy you and feel my lips kiss softly just inside your wrist? And the sound of the bar going silent as I hold your attention and tell you how lovely you are. Can you hear that?

Now see the yellow of a cab driving toward us from a distance. I hold my arm around you as I hail it and your body is warm as it leans into mine. When it pulls up I open the door for you to step in. You look up to me, longingly, begging again without words, “need me, want me, have me, come with me.” I bend to kiss you on the cheek and whisper to you, “You’ve been perfect.” Your cheeks flush and I close the door gently. The car pulls away and I stand there watching it, until it halts under the red of a traffic light at the end of the street.

I take off toward you then, my legs moving in strides across the pavement.

“I feel stuck.” “What’s keeping you stuck, exactly?” “If I knew that, I’d be unstuck.”


“I feel stuck.”
“What’s keeping you stuck, exactly?”
“If I knew that, I’d be unstuck.”