his first time visiting.


a few months ago, i messaged a classmate from high school. "are you still living in new york?" "yeah," he said. i told him i wanted to come visit. "you totally should," he said. i needed a week off from work. i had to get away from the boredom, the constant feeling that i wasn't contributing anything to society, to the world. a few nights before i left, i woke up half-panicked. this has happened before. it's that moment that sometimes happens when i think, i am alone, and i am going to leave behind my bed, my apartment, and i will be traveling by myself. and then i actually do it, and it's not a big deal at all.

i told the cabbie 49th and queens blvd. i called up ed, and he met me on the corner. he said he was doing laundry, and did i want to put my stuff away? i said it could wait. he smoked a cigarette, a stoag is what he called it, while we waited for his laundry. it was a warm and sunny day in the city. we talked about some fools we haven't seen or heard from since high school. strange to think it's been nearly a decade. he threw his shit in the dryer, and then we walked up a few blocks to his apartment.

his apartment was on the top floor, 5a, and it was half the size of my seattle apartment. "if you don't mind me asking, what's the rent?" i hate it when people say, if you don't mind me asking, but i know it's what people do, so it's what i did. "$1,250," he said. double what i pay for my place in seattle. "jesus," i said. "yeah," he said, "it sucks." he had a similar setup to me. not much shit on the walls, a black futon and small flat-screen. what set our places apart is that he had cigarette butts, marijuana ash, and empty beer cans all over. "let me show you the roof," he said.

i took in the view of the manhattan skyline, and i told him it was awesome. "i know it is," he said. he told me to crouch down, and then we got high. i took a big hit, held it in as long as i could, and coughed it out. it felt like i wouldn't stop coughing. here it is, i thought. an hour into my first visit to new york, and i'm already blazed. i moved my head and everything was super slow. "let me take you to my neighborhood bar," he said.

it was some old irish pub, and there was a romanian girl behind the counter. "magda, this is my friend from high school," he said. we shook hands. he and magda spoke for quite some time, and i kept silent. they were talking about their friends, ed's exes, and all these people i'd never heard of. she told ed she liked his glasses. and then she turned to me. "and you," she said, "you probably don't get many compliments." i told her i didn't, and i wondered if she was calling me ugly. "because you're so quiet!" she said. "oh yeah," i said. "i'm really high right now." "high as a kite," she said, and then we all laughed.

we took the seven to grand central station, and then we went to the east village, where ed's buddy, vic, lived. vic lived in an even smaller apartment, and he paid even more for rent. "he's really paying for the location," ed said. vic also lived on the top floor, and he had his music going full blast. he was a dj, and he had everything set up by the window. i was still kinda high, and i could only wonder who these people were. east coasters who made just enough to get by and continued to party it up everyday like they were still in high school and their parents were out of town.

we started the night off at this bar called simone's. everyone knew vic and ed. i got introduced as "the friend from high school," with the additional, "it's his first time in new york." and everyone else would always be like, really? we had shots of jameson on the house, beer after beer, bar after bar. from there, we went to lucky jack's, and then to pianos, and then ended the night at sing sing. ed's buddy, paul, said he wanted to go hit on some girls at sing sing. he had just finished med school, and i told him that he should tell them that. "dude," i said, "just got up to them and be like, 'i'm a fucking doctor.'" he laughed. "not quite yet," he said. "it'd be more like, 'hey, i've got a lot of debt!'"

around 4 or 5, we cabbed it back to his apartment, smoked some more, and watched the simpsons. a great way to start the week.

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