(Disclaimer: I am white and these experiences are written from a perspective of privilege. I was very young and unaware, a small town girl unprepared for the realities of an interracial relationship in the big city. This is not to say that it isn’t our responsibility as white people to educate ourselves, it is just my story and what happened. But there was so much love in our relationship despite the hardships we faced, and I hope that is what I will convey to the reader.)
The bugs died in pairs when they crawled out. I saw the bodies in our old room, lying together on the fireplace mantle that we had never used. We only knew that they lived in the walls and were more aggressive than fleas. The landlord agreed to stop charging us rent in early spring if he could ignore the problem until August. I continued to wash the sheets and spray Lysol around the edge of the walls to keep them inside. …
No one tells you how bad your first month in New York will be.
They say, “Let me know as soon as you get here.” Or “We have a great group of friends. I want to bring you in.”
But 99 percent of the invites will evaporate the second you arrive. Those formative weeks force you to fend for yourself.
You dump your suitcases on the steps of your new Bushwick apartment. It glowed when you took the bus from Boston to look at it. The dingy staircase is not as appealing when clothes are falling out of your bags. You unpack your things as the train thunders overhead every five minutes. …
You find Cat Man in the corner. He is single, his friends are settled, and no one claimed his extra pass to the show.
“So what are your hopes and dreams?” You ask him at the bar.
“To own a cabin in the middle of nowhere,” he says.
He sends you a photo of his cat, a beautiful, grey beast stretched out on the rug of his home in Worcester. He bought it when he was 26. He is testing you with the photo, if you accept his cat, you’ll accept him.
Cat Man refers to himself as the Good Son, the guy who took the job near his parents. He’s self-deprecating over his hair loss, his job, his lack of a life once he leaves the office. …
Imagine the COVID-19 pandemic without artists. Without these creatives, you would have nothing to watch, listen to, or read during the quarantine. Freelance musicians are one of the hardest-hit groups of gig workers in the United States. The lockdown to halt the spread of Coronavirus has completely disrupted their livelihoods. There was no safety net in place for them when closed venues led to canceled gigs, their main source of income.
Freelance musicians have had to make the jump to online platforms at record speeds to keep themselves afloat. …
(I have been hesitant to publish this piece for years, for fear of being labeled crazy by employers or friends. Clinically, I suffer from rolling waves of depression and hypomania, but spiritually I believe that I am an empath. As a highly sensitive person, I refuse to define myself in such rigid DSM terms.
I believe I may have experienced the collective despair some of us are feeling now 8 years ago during an excursion in Brooklyn with jazz scene friends. There are nuggets of truth and ESP in depression, hidden behind doomsday scenarios and conspiracy theories.
This is my story of jazz music, pills, mental illness, and a deep fear of the end times. My heart goes out to the New York jazz community, who have been so tragically affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. They are the most unique, creative, and daring souls I have ever known.) …