The setting

New York is hard.

In so many ways. I wanted to be an exception (what’s new?) and fall madly in love with New York the moment I set foot in it. I wanted to feel home and not ever want to leave. But New York is hard. I could list all of the things and ways in which New York is such a difficult place but I’m not going to. Instead I’m going to focus on the things I love.

I love the train ride. Not the subway- it’s busy, and loud, and exactly as it should be- but the train. The forty minute ride from my town to NYC. The forty minutes in which I am allowed to sit still. In which I am given time to observe people- admire their clothes, determine if they are visiting or residential, listen to them comfort their tired children late at night. I love waiting to hear the inevitable can of beer being opened in the train car, and I love the smile that comes across my face when I do. I especially love when that person is sitting across from me and I get to watch them enjoy that small part of their day. And the train conductor. The train conductor is my favorite. Who, nine times out of ten has an accent so thick that you know he’s spent his entire life in this state; a permanent native. In an instant you find yourself painting a picture of his life; he grew up in the ghetto, with half a dozen siblings and a working single mother. He graduated high school with integrity and good grades but too much responsibility to do anything after high school other than find a good paying job. Maybe he’s been working the train system ever since. Maybe he’s divorced. Maybe he has his own kids now. He’s a man whose story you’d love to hear over a cup of coffee at 5 a.m.

You see, these forty minutes are the forty minutes in which I still get to romanticize about New York. I get to forget my own current circumstances and I get to dream about the place in which so many stories are set. I get to write my own stories here.

-The Monster Queen

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