the air outside smells like black pepper and an ex-boyfriend’s cologne. it’s “obsession" by calvin klein and i can’t tell whether it makes me nauseous because of its familiarity or its sickeningly musky aroma. there is a woman sprinting across the street, moving as if she’s running for her life. i am unplugged, as i have been since leaving work where, just a few minutes ago, the 11 month-old baby i care for took twelve clumsy steps in a row: a new record. 

i am without an ipod, a book, or a pad of paper. i am not jotting down ideas, learning lyrics, or losing myself in someone else’s story. i am walking short distance between work and the subway, between the subway and home, and i am paying close attention. it is spring now, although the weather stubbornly refuses to acknowledge the date. on april twenty-fifth of two thousand and twelve, it is neither sunny or rainy, neither hot or cold. babies are howling and several men turn to look at pretty girls’ asses as they walk by. i catch snippets of conversations between teenage girls and women carrying their heels as they head home:

”[…] fourth martini, i said fuck this shit and BOUNCED,"

"maybe he’s, like, grounded or something. i think he has a D in math,"

"mom? mommy? MOMMY CAN I PLEASE HAVE… "

they are unaware of my intrusion, of the fact that their stories, both public and private, are finding their way to my ears. i did not intend this, did not purposefully set out to soak up secrets, but here we are.

i turn the corner and head for home, where i know i will sit down, pour myself a glass of wine, and begin to write.