I was riding the train into Manhattan when a bell rang from the speaker and an electronic voice spoke. This was my first vacation in New York without a chaperone. I wasn’t about to call my parents saying that I was lost. Instead every imaginable Subway App was already downloaded onto my iPhone. The only problem was that there was no internet connection in the underground.
“Now arriving at 42nd Street.” the voice said. I shuffled my feet to the door. Like all the previous stops I had this one memorized. There was a sense of pride with every step out of the subway. I had seen right through the riddles of the city. From the streets of Park Slope, to switching trains because of construction, I was finally in Midtown. My friend Jesse greeted me on the intersection between 42nd Street & 8th Avenue.
“I’m so glad you made it!” She said. I brushed my shoulder. She didn’t have to know about the Subway Apps. We hugged before heading over to 46th street to meet up with another friend at a bar. Tonight all of us were going to celebrate the beautiful state of New York for passing the Marriage Equality Act only a night prior. When we arrived our fried surprised us with drinks.
“Normally Happy Hour would already be ova but they extend it for me.” she said. Her name was Liz and she was a red head who sounded much too like Lucy Ricardo. “They also don’t check I.D.’s so orda whateva you want.” She winked at my friend. We all extended a glass for cheers before ordering another round of drinks.
This all felt so rebellious, even though I was twenty-one it felt like I was still breaking the rules. Where I came from, a small town in Florida, the law seemed damp and lingering like the humidity. My friend wouldn’t have been able to sneak a drink and I wouldn’t have been allowed to get married.
“Why do they extend Happy Hour for you?” I said to Liz. She threw her hands up and explained that she in fact lived upstairs and knew the manager.
“It’s all about the connections you make.” Liz said through her nose. With that in mind I recalled the gay club across the street. I wanted to go but by the time it’d let out it would be much too late to go back into Brooklyn by myself. I might have had the Subway App but a body guard is something I couldn’t download. I mentioned this to Liz who smiled before saying, “You can stay with me of course darling!”