I’ve been on the phone for the past hour or so with my aunt, reader extraordinaire. We talked non-stop about the books I’ve read recently, nearly all of which she gave me for Christmas. We also talked about my coming home, how ready I feel, how thankful I am to be calling New York my home. At the end, we were interrupted by an in-coming call, a friend of mine inviting me to go out for a drink. A nice invitation but one I turned down almost without hesitation. Regardless of the fact that I am unshowered, I was overwhelmed with a need to stay inside. A positive need, a comfortable need.
Walking out of my bedroom into the living room, I smelled the air. In it was a sense of moisture, like the air before an evening spring storm. It was heavy and cool and reminded me of a damp washcloth my mother would place on my forehead or on the small of my back on hot summer nights. Playing just loud enough to drown out the voices below me was Iron & Wine and I opened the balcony doors to let in the breeze.
I can smell the tropics in this breeze tonight and it makes me think of being at the beach: salty, damp, cool. The kind of breeze your skin welcomes especially when you’ve brought a long-sleeved shirt to block any cold bite that might accompany a gust, even though you know you won’t wear it. It’s a just-in-case kind of warmth in this kind of cool. On the one hand it would be nice to walk around outside tonight, and if I were really on a beach, I would. A year ago, this weekend, I walked alone on my street and was robbed by two men. My desire for night-walking, even a year later, is quickly quenched when I remember the experience. And so on nights like this, when walking up the hill to be with my friends seems appealing, I turn inward and find happiness in my apartment, in conversations with family, in books. In the feel of the night air. In imagining walking on a beach at night in air just like this. My coping mechanism, I suppose, for the fear I felt that night on my street. I know I’m safe here in these big rooms. I am happy staying inside tonight. Happy just to be here, at the very least.