Collins Bennett (New Jersey)
I have this fantasy of New York.
I will have an apartment full of nothing. It will be downtown somewhere. The landlord will be an older man who charges too much. He will leave my lights on and write me a note when my rent is late. There will be an exposed brick wall and I will scrape away the grout between the bricks to nail found empty picture frames up—then post it on Instagram. My bed will have a grey comforter and it will always be in some setting of unmade- unfolded clothes in a corner, pillows on the floor, novel-shaped-lump under the covers.
I will bring home a girl and in that awkward walk from the couch to the bed half-dressed and moving too quickly she will trip over my cat’s bowl and fall, her skirt smeared with salmon-flavored can shaped cat food. The mood will be ruined. I will get rid of the couch and put chairs around the TV and a wooden coffee table left over from my parent’s move. The kitchen will be small—a fridge, a sink, and a trashcan. I will always have peanut butter and diet coke stocked. I will eat applesauce from the jar.
I will have had a roommate, a girl. I will be utterly unattracted to her. Her boyfriend will be a programmer, we will drink locally brewed beer and eat homemade meatballs and pasta (I will cook well). We will own one tablecloth—it will be stained. She will want to move out with him, but won’t be able to afford the apartment in Tribecca, and I won’t be able to pay rent without a roommate.
I will get a second job when she moves out—A bartending job at a small pub in Noho. I will take the Subway home at 4 am on Saturdays. I will work nights on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sundays. My real job will be as a third grade teacher at P.S. 128. I will walk to work every day, changing my adidas for real shoes that I keep in the closet in my classroom. I will let myself get Chai on Wednesdays and flirt with the barista at the local coffee shop. I will still not drink coffee. I will love my jobs.
I will fight to get two weeks off to get a double mastectomy—Top—Top Surgery. Salmon-skirt girlfriend will move in to take care of me and forget to move out again. She will rub my chest with scar cream and give me pain killer and Mac n’ Cheese. I will love her for this. I will teach her how to give me testosterone shots, getting rid of air bubbles and counting to five pressing on the plunger. She will hate doing this, but love the effects. I will cry when my mother calls and refuses to come to the apartment to see me. My sister will come from Manhattan to visit for a night. She will be proud of me.
I will own a medium sized TV and 15 DVDs. I will splurge for an Apple TV and stream Netflix movies on Tuesday nights with my cat. I will watch A Beautiful Mind so many times the DVD will break in my cheap DVD player. I will watch and psychological thrillers. When Salmon-Skirt and I break up I will watch badly made Lesbian flicks with lots of sex and pretend it’s not a sad excuse for porn.
I will have good friends. We will cook and save coupons for bowling and drinks together. We will talk and share stories and experiences on Saturday afternoons. I will have dinner parties with my old roommate and college friends where everyone will bring green beans and garlic bread and chicken. I will own a suit. I will look good. I will be happy.
I have this fantasy of New York.