i awoke in my lover’s bed, having fallen asleep in his arms last night. a quiet, soothing time. sleep came, eventually.
i lay awake, watching him sleep: he looked calm, despite the sandstorm upon his pillow, his hair in disarray; no frown upon his face; his mouth slightly open; his languorous breathing a quiet constant; his eyes still, no rapid fluttering beneath those delicate lids- those long lashes like tiny brushes resting, lightly. i lay awake, watching him, in the quiet and calm of our cocoon. i love this man. i love his mind- his brilliant and incisive mind. his mind is a whip, but for now it is still. it lies coiled, at peace.
i plant a soft kiss on his temple and whisper “i will come to you, after work”. he nods, sleepily, and breathes “okay, my love…”, his eyes struggling to focus from beneath the heavy blanket of much needed sleep. i tell him to rest well and let myself out.
the low-slung October sun seemed to hover in the clear blue sky above. the air felt unusually warm for this time of year. i strolled down to the Shorehead to catch a bus home. the journey was short, uneventful and not unpleasant.
when i arrived home, i checked my mailbox. junk. binned. i ran a bath and lay in the warm water for almost an hour or until my fingertips began to wrinkle. i cannot remember which.
i got dressed and caught a bus to Glenrothes. two elderly women embarked with me. one was tall, with a blue rinse and a brown faux fur coat; the other was short and stocky and was clutching a plastic lilac handbag. the two old dears sat behind me.
i gazed out the window, enjoying the daze of the late autumn sunshine. i could hear their voices behind me. New York City. they spoke of New York City as if they knew that town like the back of their time-withered hands. they spoke of the Tribeca Film Festival, the Theatre District, Broadway- “when it used to be interesting” as one women said. their anecdotal descriptions were so vivid that i was briefly transported back there.
i love NYC. each time i visit, i fall more in love with the city: its space, its vertigo-inducing height, its colour and vibrancy, its music and rhythm, its people and diversity. i love how, in NYC, if you want an Algerian meal at 4 am on a Tuesday you can have it. every street, a movie set; every corner, a song.
from the old womens’ chatter, i could hear the noise of crosstown traffic and could see the stream of yellow taxis rolling down Broadway; i could envisage the madness of the hustling and bustling Midtown; i could smell the pretzels from the street food vendors; the people – so many people; and i could see the skyline… that famous skyline.
i looked out the window. this was not New York City. this was Glenrothes- a far cry from Manhattan- poles apart in every way.
i smiled to the old dears as they disembarked. a smile, a gesture, a “thank you” for teleporting me to one of my favourite places on Earth. one of the few places where i can just “be”.
in my experience, NYC is a space where i can just “be”… and yet, it is a place where i feel like i don’t have to “be” anything. no pretense. the city would not allow that.
i feel free, in NYC. free to exist however i want to. the city does not judge- the city, its people and its Council welcome and encourage individuality and self-expression. it is my spiritual home. it is a haven for creativity. unlike here, in Fife (Scotland/UK), where a career in the creative industries is a constant uphill struggle.
my thoughts return to my lover. i have never met anyone quite like him. he is a man of such overwhelming sensitivity and empathy, such creativity and brilliance. someone, now, so disenchanted with this country’s lack of vision; its apathy in supporting and nurturing talent; a country where those in pursuit of a career in the creative industries are deemed as a ‘hobbyists’. the grants and funding available to financially assist creatives are difficult to attain and are ‘prioritised’ by the ‘creative councils’. there are precious few government-backed and/or industry-backed schemes to encourage careers in the creative industries. it is all very disheartening. the music industry is dead. the film industry is on its knees. there are no “book deals” any more. everyone is a photographer these days, with the advent of mobile phone technology and bloody Instagram.
and it breaks my heart.
i want a one-way return to my lover’s bed and rouse him from his sleep and escape to NYC. immediately.
but this is not New York. this is Fife.
i wonder if, by airing my hopes for a future vacation with my lover in what is irrevocably one of the most exciting places on Earth, by launching this ‘parallel universe’ that we may cross over there by opening some kind of portal.
i think of my lover. i want to wake up in NYC with him, and show him around my spiritual home. i feel they have so very much in common: each time i visit NY i fall a little more in love with the city; and each time i leave, i leave a little bit more of myself there. each time i leave, i feel homesick for its space to just… be.
and my lover’s arms are no different. when i am not with him, i feel homesick for his presence. his hands. his eyes. his mind. he too excites and inspires me, unequivocally, like i never thought possible.
every time i have to leave our cocoon, i leave a little of myself along the way. and i feel sad, homesick and desperate to return.
there is nowhere else i would rather be.
for Robert. his presence, a one-way life-affirmation.
(c) Kat McDonald 2014
image: found, no known source.