Before the wedding we walk around Brooklyn. It is May and warm and the city is green and buzzing. My cousin’s kids have never been to a city like this before but they take to it like only kids can take to something so unfamiliar – with abandon and with an enviable, genuine enthusiasm. We get iced coffee and grilled cheeses at the farmer’s market in Fort Greene and I wander around the booths touching everything and buying nothing. I haven’t gotten paid in months and I feel strange – a visitor now in a city I lived in only a half a year ago.
One time I felt at home here, I think, and then I think – but did I really? Did I ever?
But there’s no time to answer myself. The day is slipping away and people are getting hungry and crabby and I turn a corner and run into people I haven’t seen in ten years. When they recognize me, I am surprised. Sometimes I feel like I was born again and anew last week. Sometimes I think that I fade away from memories as soon as I am out of someone’s sight. But then I catch myself in a mirror and then I see a photograph of myself on my brother’s mantel – a girl in a matching skirt and shirt and vest, hair curled and ready for the first day of fifth grade – and I think I’m not so different than I was back then.
A few months from now, you will get an awful, awful haircut, I want to tell myself. I touch the frame and laugh at my unwilling smile – the corners of my mouth just barely pulling upwards, my teeth hidden behind clenched-together lips.
But don’t worry, I think. It will grow out. You will grow up. You will be OK again.
film photographs taken with a minolta x-700