12 October 2012

on the corner of 8th Avenue and Possibility

On the corner of 8th Avenue and Possibility, a girl sits on a bench.

Oh, she knows that there's no such street as Possibility, but that is how she's come to think of this corner.

From here, the Possibilities are—well, as innumerable as the people flowing past on this Manhattan evening.

She comes here most Wednesday evenings, just to sit and watch, although she supposed that'll change when winter comes.

Already, she has her scarf wrapped tight against the October breeze, but maybe her Wednesday evening tradition won't have to change, she says to herself. With the right warm clothes and a hot cocoa to look forward to, she could still come here to take in the Possibilities.

She hasn't lived in New York City very long—a few months—and it wasn't long after she moved here from Mishawaka, Indiana {"What a name!" people always say, as if she might've invented it} that she started coming to this corner.

It started quite by accident one Wednesday after work: she had a pebble stuck in her shoe. She was in her heels and always worried about catching the heel in a grate on the sidewalk, but here she was with a pebble.

And so she sat down on this bench on 8th Avenue to get it out. Annoyance gone, she looked up and suddenly realized how tired she was.

It had been a long day {up by 5am!} and sitting, just for a moment, made her feel that her day had been full of pebbles, little annoyances, and that she'd spent all day pulling them out of the metaphorical shoe.

But sitting down, she could slow down.

She could take in the world marching past on the gridded streets of New York City, and that day, she actually said out loud—before she could stop herself—"It's a sea of humanity, it really is."

What a true and obvious thing to say, she had thought then, and watched all the people with all their lives.

Tourists: always looking up, as if they've never seen a building more than three stories high.

Couples on their way to a Broadway show, both of them dressed up.

Other workerbees making their way home, perhaps just as tired as she was.

Babies in strollers.

Men dropping the restaurant garbage bags on the corner.

Homeless people with their McDonald's cups out, jingling for spare change.

A sea of humanity and a world of possibilities.

That day, as she looked down the street at the hot dog man {just $2 for a meal! This is living!}

and as she looked kitty-corner at the fancy ice cream place {artisanal is probably the better word}

and as she was bathed in an orange glow like a Technicolor dream from the digital billboard across the street,

she had decided to come here every Wednesday evening to remember that the world is bigger than small pebbles and little annoyances. It's bigger than a desk job and buying new shoes and the day-to-day life we can get so focused on and it's even bigger than Broadway.

There are Possibilities all around us, if only we'd sit down to take them in, as she does every Wednesday evening on that bench on 8th Avenue.


  1. I'm a little bit in love with this story. :-)

  2. Thanks, Beth :)

    Clearly I was inspired by my whirlwind trip to NYC!



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