When I was younger and my birthday came about, my mom, being the single mother that she was, would work overtime to make sure I would get the best gifts. My days were spent with my grandparents, whom I loved greatly. While she worked two jobs and went to college. I remember one year, when I was about five years old she bought me this huge barbie castle, a pink Barbie car with a remote control, and Barbie to go with it. I believe I played with it twice. I was a very odd child. I didn’t care much for toys, rather I would play in my grandmother’s garden and I would imagine I was a mother feeding her children. I would take a bowl and mix berries, grass, dirt, and pretend to cook. And I would set my dolls on a table in the backyard, and I would sit with them. I remember laying down on the grass and watching the sunset. I spent a lot of time doing that. My imagination ran wild. I remember the clouds moving so fast. I always wondered where they were heading to, and if they could take me with them. At a young age, I quickly realized there was a vast sky full of possibilities. When I first moved to New York City, I was four years old. One day my mom and I spent the whole day in the city. She had a small polaroid and we took pictures in front of the skyscrapers. Being from the countryside in the Dominican Republic, I was a long way from mama’s garden. That day was the best day of my five-year-old life. I remember the enthusiasm I felt riding the subway for the first time. I was right in the heart of the city of possibility. We had ice cream and shared laughs. Growing up in the city, I felt so small. There were so many people, always in a rush, always seemed upset. It was as if the days went by and life didn’t metaphorically stop for anybody. In middle school, we moved to a small townhome on Gildersleeve ave. Our apartment living days were over. Gosh, this place was beautiful to me. We were very far from the trains, city, buses. Down the street from our home, there was a beautiful river with a breathtaking night view of the whole city. The bike trail that led to the river was my favorite. One summer, I convinced some
friends to walk down the trail. The girls were scared, after all the myths we’ve heard of people that went on this trail and disappeared. I thrived off of adventure. Seeking the thrill was always kind of my thing. So, I led the way as we walked down the trail. I remember my Chuck Taylor’s getting dirty from the dirt road. We walked through a dandelion field, and we came across this antique Thunderbird on the side of the road. The car’s paint had completely faded away, and there was graffiti all over the doors. I imagined maybe a family crashed and left their vehicle on the side of the road. I wondered whether the family survived or not. Then, I shook my head, and told myself to stop being so morbid. There was a huge rock that hung like a cliff over the river and I had carved my initials on it. I would sit, with my legs hanging over the water for hours. The wind blowing, and the waves crashing over the rocks was like a melody to my ears. I could sit there for hours. As I grew older, the city grew smaller. Being in one place for too long became dull. I was too young, immature, limited. Everyone, especially my mother wanted to put me in a box. And I just wanted to run freely. My best friend and I dreamed about renting an old Volkswagen van and driving from state to state. All we needed was each other, our vinyl records, and some change for gas. It’s fascinating how the direction of our lives change habitually. As I grow older, I comprehend how blessed I am to live this life. I’m just a girl, and the world is as some would say, my oyster. I’m not done caring, loving, seeing, traveling, feeling. I’m just a girl in my twenties who longs for more than ordinary. Wherever life takes me, there’s more to explore.
“Maybe some women aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they just need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with them.”
42nd St., NYC, 2002.