Everyday I walk down my five flights of stairs and see a bullet hole spreading its veins in one of the windows along the staircase. I hate it here but when I’m not here I miss it. At one point this building must’ve had a rough one, so I think about it during the year 1903, but like all good things, they end. It’s 2017 and you would never see a bullet in the Slope now, but walk five miles southeast and you’d regret it. You probably feel bad for the ones that live in "that area." In fact, you say it with caution. But little do you know that they feel bad for you. You’ve spent your years in a life with a tree giving you shade and protection from the hiss of the sun. The thing is: they’ve got stories to tell and all you can tell people is about that time you shot a pigeon with your air-soft gun in your white subdivision because you were bored.
I exit my building and can tell you, as a fact, that the winters here are not as bad as the winters I endured in the Midwest. The winters back home don’t have a smell. I’d walk out of my front door and it would be odorless at a truly appalling degree: maybe below ten or twenty but it felt like forty. Everything was dead. But here nothing is dead because even in the winter, the subway platforms smell of piss and other unmentionables.
I follow the sidewalk to the subway and follow the subway under the river and then above the river I walk out into Manhattan. The women are so pretty here. They stand outside of restaurants with cigarettes fixed between their index and middle fingers while speaking in low hums. I wish I knew what they were saying. I seem to romanticize them when in actuality they’re discussing how cold they are. I seem to romanticize much about this city. Their elaborate long jackets cover the knees and ribs that hide under their fabrics. The smoke travels up to the apartments above and another smell follows me. Only this smell is not just a winter one; it's always in season.
I travel back to my apartment and immediately walk to the sink. My hands are cold and my fingers are numb so I twist the faucet on. The hot water burns my near-frostbite and steam rises up and drifts into the mirror. I am home again. I think about what I'd do if a new bullet came through the staircase window tonight. You know what I'd do? I'd put on my cowboy boots and pretend it's 1903. Brooklyn has taught me that all good stories come from the thrill of being alive, but again, I seem to romanticize everything about this city.