My kids are off doing their thing this weekend, my son at an alumni track meet with all his old track buddies, competing against the current crop of trackies, and my daughter visiting friends upstate. My cousin from Maryland is here; she traveled to the city yesterday to attend a funeral, the mother of one of her closest friends. Then we spent the evening together, cozied up inside and warm, watching football playoff games (or rather keeping my husband company as he watched) and talking and laughing the way we have done our entire lives, through summers together on our grandparents farm or on sleepovers at each other's homes, and now at Thanksgiving every year. At about eight my cousin and I ventured into the single-digit wind chill to get dinner options as the pantry was quite bare. We dined on rotisserie chicken and rosemary and olive oil bread, accompanied by a good Malbec that my husband chose. I basked in the comfort of being with these two, with whom I felt completely myself. Then again, who can I ever be but myself? I suppose what I really mean is with them I was an expression of myself that was easy and unselfconscious, not anxious or melancholy, not lacking anything. I was myself, whole.
Those are two views of the city in graffiti snapped by friends. They kind of sum up the New York experience, or maybe just my New York experience. Or maybe just life.
2. The Black Snapper