Nicky's Blog

2010 New York Marathon

November 9, 2010
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Hundreds of people surrounded me at every angle shouting cheerful words. Some were giving gifts of potassium to the tired, yet determined runners. “I got a banana,” he chuckled, as he hurried past me on my right. People waved signs, taped and glued together by loving hands, over their heads. Stretching over blocks and blocks, all I could see was a sea of waving signs and hands.

I could hear voices saying, “You can do it, Jennifer” and “Let’s go, France”. I soon realized that these encouraging words were uttered by and to strangers. There existed an understanding that each runner was equally deserving of  unconditional “Yes You Can” mantras. I started to extend my hand into the sea of runners. Slap. Slap. Slap. And, then,  smiling and content faces.

I could see pain and pleasure in their faces. The pain they felt piercing their body emanated into passion in their eyes and we felt it. I wanted to do whatever in my means to console them into realizing their goal. It was exhausting to expel that much energy into people whom I had never before met, but I did it without conscious thought.

Big, fat marching bands burped music into the air – loud, move-your-body music. The kind of music that you can’t say no to. The kind of music that doesn’t say no to you. And, the kind of music that runs over your body and tickles it, inciting you to move to the left and to the right. My body listened and followed organically.

“Do you have a press pass?”, he asked me with an endearing grin on his face. Smiling back with one eyelid closed, “No, I replied.” “Well, she’s sure cute enough not to,” muttered the man behind me. I smiled and pressed down hard on the shutter. Snap. I froze the runners’ pain. Snap. I froze the runners’ pleasure. Snap. I froze this magic I was being witness to. Froze it then so I could feel it again some other day.

Two pretty southern bells tapped their fingers over their iphones and asked me what mile marker we were standing on. “You’re asking the wrong girl,” I replied with a shrug and a shy smile. They tapped incessantly until one exclaimed, “Sweet Jesus, finally!”  One asked me if I wanted to see where my boyfriend was on a speckled map on her fancy iphone marathon application. “Um, well, uh, he’s not really my boyfriend. Er, ok, his name is…” “Your boyfriend is finished, dahling. You better go get him at the finish line, baby.” I smiled, gave them my best, and ran away.

How I wanted for all of New York City to show this kindness and sincerity to passing strangers daily. Even round bellied, cranky police officers, who were assigned a very specific purpose that day, couldn’t help but feel the good energy of the people  they were policing. That pull was universally felt.

It was these same people that I likely brushed shoulders with on the subways, and sat uncomfortably close to on the buses. It was these same people that probably shouted their order with a tone of bitterness at Starbucks. It was these same people that may have slid stealthily into my cab seat when the rain fell from the heavy clouds.  But, Sunday represented the truth that New Yorkers never cease to amaze me in good ways. Perhaps, I might even want to say that humanity is full of warm surprises me because, after all, these people  had come from all corners of the world.

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I am Moving

September 3, 2010
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The Empire State building shines in a mustard yellow color tonight. I see it through my bedroom window, the same window I have seen it out from for the past 23  three years. Except tonight I am especially aware of its presence because in a few short weeks I will never have the Empire State building to see from out my window. I am moving.

I have lived in the same apartment since I was born. I have seen it undergo a plethora of wild stages that have mirrored my own stages of growth and awareness. I used to have purple walls. A plum purple color that was playful and warm just like my mom intended it when she chose the color.

When I was really young, I used to wake up in the night-time, crawl out of bed, and walk out into the living room. As my squinted eyes adjusted to the light, they also were greeted by my purple walls. I would turn the corner to see my mother, sitting on a small stool that nearly touched the floor, writing in her blue jean-like journal. They don’ t make those kinds of journals anymore, but they were of a cotton-like material and were really long in height.  You could release a lot of energy and ambition into those journals, which is what my single-parent mother of three little girls did.

When I saw by mother hunched over her journal, scribbling fears, hopes and memories, it didn’t register with me than that she was, in those rare moments, finding time for herself. I simply saw a book in my mommy’s hand. I would run to her because my feet were cold because I wasn’t wearing socks and the floor was always cold at night. She would put down her book and hold me until my eyes closed again.

Years later, when I finally open one of the dozens of books she had filled up with her convictions, I realized the significance of those moments I had haphazardly fallen witness to.  Those purple walls remind me of my mother’s vulnerability and courage  in the earlier years of her life raising three children by herself.

I am nervous about moving because this small apartment in New York City is the only place I have ever called home. All the profound love I have ever trusted blindly is contained within these walls. Like the colors of the walls, I too have changed . My essence remains the same, yet the many layers of shyness, restlessness have faded only to be painted with strength and unyielding curiosity.


About author

A lover of people, the arts, parks, curiosity, spontaneity, altruism, self-exploration, and story telling. I believe in living your life nakedly and on fire. I am one of triplets: I have two sisters running about in the city coping my look. If you see "me", think twice. Much of my writing is inspired by my daily happenings. Much of it is also closely connected to my years at Bates College. This blog is for anyone looking for inspiring insights and stories.

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