I climb into the front seat. The husband drives. We pick up Sister from her house, one mile from our own. We talk about homeschooling and the children and our trip. All of the traffic is on the other side of the street.
We get to the airport. I kiss Sister too and apologize for all of the traffic she will encounter on the way home. She tells us to have fun, be at peace, enjoy each other and our time away.
We check one bag, remove our shoes and his belt, stack our bags into the bins that travel through the machine. A guard pats me down. We walk through.
We eat sushi and I drink coffee. We board as the sun is setting. It shines through the wall of windows as we board the plane.
We fly for two hours, barely above the horizon, watching the sun, watching the sky, tracing the lights and the water and the pavement.
I read. He reads. We complete a crossword puzzle then he plays with a deck of cards while I write. We descend into the city, it looks as though we may land amidst the cars on the freeway.
We exit last, from the back of the tiny plane. We find our checked bag and our bearings and load our bags and ourselves into an Uber.
The wind blows through the open window of the car. Lights flash red and yellow and green. The horns honk, the traffic slows, the crowds grow larger and larger. I read a paragraph of Black Milk at every stoplight then stare out the window each time the tires begin rolling over the pavement once again.
We arrive at The Wellington, unload our bags, check in and find the elevator. There are people everywhere. It is eleven pm on a Wednesday night.
We find a tiny elevator, narrow hallways, giant chandeliers, hidden doors and a time capsule of a hotel room. My excitement grows with every step.
We drop our bags in the room and head back downstairs. The darkness of Central Park is a few blocks to our right, the lights of Times Square to our left. We walk towards Times Square.
I am in an ankle length black cotton dress and flip-flops. I wonder if the people here can guess from where I come.
We wander for hours. Crowds. Culture shock. Do New Yorkers sleep? Do the lights ever get turned off? There are screens everywhere, round and round the advertisements go. Building sized posters. Building sized screens. Larger than life. I spin in circles to take it all in. I am dizzy. I am mesmerized. So many humans. So many cars. So many lights. This place is the antithesis of every place we saw this summer.
New York, we love you. And we are here until Monday.
What do you have to teach us?