Today I found myself on an emotional tour of Queens. I went job hunting and wound up in front of the Central Library. Ah, the Central Library…a place I spent many afternoons escaping the lonely hell that was high school. I would cut school (Sometimes with my best friend, most times not) and just walk around the fiction section picking up books and running my fingers across rigid spines. It was there that I discovered Anne Rice and all of her beautiful vampires and witches. It was there that I was accosted by a young Indian man who asked me if I wanted to marry him ( i told him I was only 16…he said I should have been married three years ago).
On the way home, I walked up towards my high school, a place I promised I would NEVER step my foot into. I didn’t but i saw 16 year old me walking down that ridiculous hill with a loaded back pack and a frizzy ponytail. Some days I walked from school to home just to be alone. Sometimes, alone is good.I waited for the bus and just looked towards my alma mater, trees blowing in the wind but keeping safely hidden. Once on the bus, we rode through my old neighborhood. We moved there when Bubba was a little over a year old. My mother complained about how the store was blocks away and you needed a car to get around. I liked it because it was quiet and nothing ever happened. A good place to raise a child. I tas only in the house we lived in that my aunt had a stroke and our whole lives turned upside down. My aunt had babysat my brothers and I while my mom worked and it was at the moment the EMTs took her away that I realized just how important she was to me. A few years later, she died. We passed where Bubba’s dad lives. I met him while I was still in high school, you know.
My mom and Bubba want to move to Manhattan and they don’t understand why I’m so stuck on being a Queens girl. Bubba was born here, took her first breath here.I also took my own first NYC breath in the same hospital as Bubba did. I met my best friend in the whole world here, graduated high school here…and lost my mother here. When I think of all the important things that have ever happened to me until this moment in my 26 years, both happy and sad,Queens is always the setting for those stories. I am a Queens girl emotionally, mentally, and geographically and no matter how far removed I am from here, this will always be home.