I sat on the windowsill and blew bubbles out onto the evening breeze, because this week, the full weight of my aloneness settled on me.
Over the weekend, I walked alone through Central Park and passed couples jogging, children playing, and dogs walking their people. I wanted to point out the way the air smelt unaccountably of cinnamon, but I had nobody to notice it with me. I wanted to marvel at how unfamiliar grass and trees and mulch seemed already, after so short a time living in the city, but I had nobody to sigh with me. Every morning and evening, I walked alone through Madison Square Park and passed coworkers chatting on benches, mothers tugging toddlers along, and friends waving across the square. I wanted to see a friend and smile in recognition, but I had nobody to greet.
I slide into lonely self-pity with the same ease I slump down into my seat on the subway. But a wise man once remarked that, “The world is so full of a number of things…” So this week, I reminded myself of the small joys that soften my isolation.
Small joys of soft rain caressing my face in the park. Of the sparrows fluttering in dust-baths, so tiny and yet so bold. Of Ella Fitzgerald’s voice drifting down the street out some open window, and of flashes of my childhood rushing in and out of my room as cars pass by at night, radios blaring.
Small joys of twisted tree roots breaking up the synthetic structure of the sidewalk, and of the cactus someone set in its pot on the first-storey windowsill outside my door. Of the man who greets me in Spanish at the tienda on the corner and sells me queso fresco for hojaldres that taste like home. Of hour-long, rambling conversations with my mother as I pace my flat—seven steps to the door and seven back to the bed, pivot, step again.
Small joys of free books and hour-long subway rides to read them. Of the boy humming with his guitar in the Times Square station, eyes closed and mouth smiling, and of the man growling jazz on his saxophone by the fountain, dancing with the force of his syncopation.
Small joys of the post—of letters in elegant calligraphy swirls and heartfelt scrawls, and of boxes filled with homemade cookies, Nutella, and Sharpies.
And small joys of bubbles, floating like transient jewels on the evening breeze, dancing between high rises and lighting on fire escapes, escaping into the lowering dusk from my seat on the windowsill.