The Aftertaste of a Dream

 

Four years ago I got rejected from art school in New York City. The experience left me stranded in the middle of Florida with two best friends. We gathered our strength together in order to help one another. A flock of hands lifted one us out of a broken heart and into the art studio, where they learned to give into their emotions with by studying them. A flock of hands pulled one of us away from a small town, where everyone believed that a medical degree led to happiness, and into the vibrant city of Orlando. Each of them found a way to believe in themselves again while I wondered where to start.img-thing.jpeg

I switched majors, from art to writing, but still felt aimless. New York City no longer appealed to me since Orlando became my home. Its craft coffee shops, literary clubs, and hipster bars resonated with my need for culture. I no longer felt the craving to taste other cities, but I still craved a dream.

One of my friends went on to graduate and moved to a different state. The other one got married and continues to study art at the same university that I attend. We still help one another get through the hard times. Although, not all hard times call for the attendance of friends. For example, I felt the bitter taste of rejection the other night and thought of New York City. After several seconds it dissolved into something sweet. My teeth grinded against one another in anticipation for the next sample of rejection. I needed to taste something like it again. Maybe I’ll go to grad school. Maybe I’ll intern at a radio station. Either way I need a dream again.

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S.O.S. New York Part 3

I laid on the sofa shivering. My feet curled under a blanket that seemed more the size of a dishcloth. All I wanted was to be back in Brooklyn where my cousin was, family photos hung on the walls, and I could cuddle my iPod beneath a comforter. Instead, I was stranded in a room on the fourth floor of a Manhattan apartment, with an air conditioner thats was blowing away any sense of drowsiness.

I couldn’t venture outside though. The darkness seemed as deep as the ocean where any tourist would surely drown. My only life buoy were the Subway Apps but they didn’t have a chance of floating me all the way down the island. Eventually I’d have to ask a stranger for directions.

Hurricane Sandy Bears Down On U.S. Mid-Atlantic Coastline

My experience with New York residents was already tainted though thanks to a man who called himself Ice Queen. A guy that had stood 5’6 in baggy jeans shorts and a book in the pocket. He had approached me tonight in the club and asked me to dance before taking my hand outside to talk. Ideally, it had been the moment I was searching for. Me up against the wall with a cute guy. It’s the kind of scene that happens on television screens, the one I’d envisioned in my head, the reason I’d come to New York.

Now alone I couldn’t get away from the picture fast enough. Every time I closed my eyes the cold air reminded me of Ice Queen, unwilling to leave when I said goodbye. He followed me all the way to the stoop of my friend’s apartment where I sat for over an hour. All texts and phone calls I sent went unanswered.

“There’s a coffee shop right around the corner.” he kept saying. There probably was such a place, but my relationship with the stoop was about as strong as a shadow’s with the pavement on a sunny day.

He wasn’t a bad guy. The book in his pocket was about philosophy and he read it when no one at the club interested him much. We talked about gay history and body language, although he couldn’t read much of what mine was telling him. In fact, he was a very nice guy but I wouldn’t allow him to put his arm around me. I didn’t trust him and he said that was ok, but then we said goodbye. My friend had come downstairs to pick me up.

I could have had another kind of adventure instead of couch surfing, I might be in somebody’s bed. Waiting out the darkness might have been a little bit warmer.

S.O.S. New York Part 2

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I think you’re going to need those.” the bouncer said, looking at the ground. Three golden condoms laid in plain sight until I grabbed them to stuff into my pocket. They had come out conveniently with my I.D. that proved I was old enough to go into the club, Ritz.

“Thanks.” I said and went in. I touched my cheeks that felt warm from the waves of embarrassment. Getting laid was actually the furthest thing from my mind. I wouldn’t be able to reach the stoop of someone’s apartment before I’d begin to have regrets.

I pushed the rubbers all the way down until I felt their corners nibbling at my leg. Everywhere I looked were sexy-looking-men. Round and lean bodies that glowed in the darkness of the club. I needed to get closer.

Walking down a narrow hallway, the beat of music tumbled, chests balanced against one another, and I wound up in the middle of the dance floor. Men spun around me and spilling their beers, I wanted to be as carefree. I swayed side to side but the rhythm of music swam right past me. How do I do this? I must have mouthed the words because I noticed a pair of twinkling eyes staring at me. They belonged to a guy that was dancing with a bunch of people. Friends. He nodded for me to come over.71Qwx0Q4eaL._AA1000_

We had no introductions. Our feet passed around the beat of the music and when it was my turn I did it without any hesitation. Sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to lack confidence because then you meet new people. I felt the sweat running down my forehead.

By the time the guy and his friends exited the floor my shirt was soaked. The addiction had me wondering how I had ever been afraid to dance. With every new song my torso spun like there was a hook in it, pulling it, until releasing my hands into the air.

“You’re a good dancer.” somebody said. Their words were close to my ear. I had seen him come at me from across the room but only now realized we were dancing together.

“Thank you.” I said, feeling my hands along his back. Smooth muscle swayed beneath the cotton shirt. My hand moved up behind his neck when all of a sudden he took it and spun me around. Feeling the pulse behind my body I noticed there was something different in the way he moved. The itch in my pocket from the condoms threw me off balance but he caught us by placing his arms around my waist. His hold felt firm but not aggressive. I was comfortable to keep dancing.

“Do you wanna go outside?” He said.

S.O.S. New York Part 1

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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.

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“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!”

My Glee-spiration

There’s one thing I love surely in this world and it’s Television. The colors, sounds, emotional stories, are all pieces that when placed correctly create entertainment. Entertainment and Inspiration.

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“Glee” is an inspirational show to me. At first it was about a high school show choir. A group of misfits that wanted to express themselves with music and so joined the glee club, The New Directions. Their world though is full of villains out to silence them. Whether the motive is jealousy, glee club rivalry, or even romance, The New Directions move through these barriers to succeed.

Each season the club gets closer and closer to winning a National Show Choir competition. That isn’t their only challenge though. Eventually each member has to face life outside of high school. This is when I felt completely in sync with the show because this is my challenge today.

Life after high school, outside my hometown, is so much harder than I could have possibly imagined. It’s also the most giving. I was never in a glee club in high school, but I always knew there was a voice inside me waiting to express itself.

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In the fourth season the character Rachel Berry applies to a mystical school in New York. At her audition she chokes, twice. It was a moment I personally shared with her because I too “choked”. My application to a New York Art School was denied and I had nowhere to go. Foolishly we both thought there was a golden future entitled to our name. Maybe there is but at that moment it all just seemed like an illusion.

New York in my mind was this juicy vibrant metropolis that I needed to bite into. Maybe that’s why people call it The Big Apple. It’s richness are talents like art, writing, singing, and dancing. I wanted to taste it. All of it. I wanted to become New York if I could but first I needed to move past this failure.

I began to do more and more art. I wasn’t going to let this one challenge stop my way to the place I wanted to be. If there was a voice inside me then this was the moment to prove it. So I took a chance and moved to Orlando instead where I attended school for writing. All the way I listened to the Glee version of “Roots Before Branches,” because like the song I still had much to learn about my ambition and myself.