Claustraphobe

I was rocking my vows, you know; no girlfriends, be at your laptop at least ten hours a day, adhere to strict diet, manage your finances, write something (anything!)… I had a couple more of those.

I lived in lower Manhattan, New York, on 13th Street, west – a one-bedroom apartment, just cute for an upcoming writer. It’s a relatively quiet neighbourhood; you know, a few car horns, no construction, and of course barking dogs. You can’t compare this outcome to what you get in uptown midtown.

You know what they say about New York City; the city that never sleeps, the big apple, fun city, the naked city, Gotham city (for real?), empire city… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. I BEG to differ. People come here expecting miracles, they come here to ‘make a difference’, they come here for better tidings; to bite from the big apple. How big is the apple? I wonder.

The apple keepers are the ‘wolves of Wall Street’, yea, the same guys that run the freaking world. As Jay-Z puts it in Empire State of Mind,

“New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do”

Concrete jungle? Yes. Where dreams are made of? No. There’s nothing you can’t do? Hell no. New York is hardly a utopia. As Frank Sinatra (God rest his soul) says it in New York New York,

“I wanna wake up, in a city that doesn’t sleep
and find I’m king of the hill, top of the heap”

Well, New York doesn’t sleep. Who cares? Lagos doesn’t sleep either. And you’re not going to wake up to find that you’re king of the hill or top of the heap. In NY, you are either a king or a person who serves the king. It’s that simple.

I’m a writer, or so I like to think. That was the deal with mum and dad; that as soon as I graduated from Florida Tech I’d delve fully into writing. They agreed. Well, there I was, basking in my independence of sorts. I wasn’t genuinely independent, I had no job (I couldn’t even bag the barista gig at Joe) so mum and dad still supported me. The painful aspect of that was I still had to pick their calls and answer their sarcastic questions about my future.

You see, writers flock to new New York with all sorts of shibboleths in mind. They think they come to be inspired by the city and its lights. Obviously those are the ones in the ‘romance’ genre. I wasn’t looking for romance. I mean, how significant can a couple amidst million others be? I thought if anyone was going to write about love then it should be in a setting of privacy. These ‘dream writers’ soon get disappointed and leave.

I hadn’t vacated my room for days. I had food in the fridge to last a while. I’m an introvert, so I didn’t always welcome the idea of stepping out. That’s something I know mum and dad would have worried about. We all lived in Florida, so college was easy. When I moved to New York I sometimes visited a few cafés, I thought I could write there plus the important feel of writing in a cafe – there are more cafés in New York than there are birds in the sky. I stopped sooner than later.

It was the eighth day indoors, and I was lonely as hell. I couldn’t pen a dime because I now hated the very city I existed in. I hated being in NY so badly that I imprisoned myself. I couldn’t call mum and dad, I wouldn’t give them that self-righteous exhilaration of being right. “Honey, we told you you won’t be able to handle it…” was ringing in my head as I battled my solitude. I was officially a social pariah.

I woke up that morning from one of my contorted sleeps. My head was cranky like the heated and congested components of a running automobile engine. I had just had another vague dream, an addition to the list of undefined visions at night. I moped through my window, it was like a waking-up ritual, and I drowned myself in the frequent knowledge of my situation. Except that outside (even if it was just a street view) in lieu felt stable. This elevated my lonesomeness even more, knowing that New York functioned without me.

I trimmed my gaze and crept to the bathing room. I picked my toothbrush from the pile, and met the wall mirror. ‘Not again’. I’m always energised while brushing, so my reflection didn’t trouble me as much. I still observed a second or two to look into the mirror. I looked gawky. The relative comparison of my room to the whole of New York City hit me yet again. I felt insignificant. I turned on the shower and I just let it drench me, my hair glued to my face. I thought then how much better the picture would be of a sodden couple kissing in the heavy rain.
After bathing I opened the lid of my Mac as I’d done in the mornings of the last 7 days of my ‘imprisonment’. Straight on, I visited Facebook. Well, it had become a natural habit. Alice – my uni ex – just updated her status. Alice and I have history together. Irrespective of my introverted nature, I was fortunate enough to date her. Well, the same qualities that magnetised her to me also desensitised her from me. I’m intricately nostalgic (in fact, it is owing to this quality of mine that I found myself in New York) so she’d bounce back every now and then.

I couldn’t keep reminiscing about the past, I had something better to do – write. This was the difficult part. In the last seven days and more I’d dillydallied at the white space on my screen. It was writer’s block, not apparently so though. After a few minutes and failed attempts I closed the lid, got off the chair and unto the bed. I laid on the bed looking upward to the ceiling, my hands tucked in-between my head and the pillow. And I phased out.

“What are you looking at?” a sudden high-spirited voice narrated.

I rotated my head anticlockwise in solemn disbelief. ‘Could I be–’ ‘Could I be–’ I thought. There she was, this woman, with angelic eyes, that immediately highlighted my soul. She was smiling the smile of an angel. I couldn’t tell whether the rising sun was reflecting on her or she was generating her own radiance. I positioned myself to fully face her, she was facing me too. She was still smiling. My heartbeat condensed and became audible. She was still smiling. Her gaze split through my soul.

“What’s your name?” I asked, peacefully.

Instead she bulged her lips a bit, and it didn’t lessen the effect of her smile in any way. Her eyes glittered even more.

She was naked.

Her hair was literally glowing. Her breasts were fulfilled. Her mons, prime. Her legs intersected amorously.

“Who are you?” I asked, somewhat dazed.

“Do you want to know?” She asked, smiling as ever. My heart skipped a beat.

“Yes,” I narrated, now smiling as well.

She kept smiling on, I didn’t hold back either.

“Do you really want to know?” her cheerful voice softened my claustrophobic heart.

She tilted up to her bumptious hip, right palm supporting on the bedding. Her right arm on her crossed legs placed so eloquently. She was still glittering at me. I just laid the same way, staring back at her. She descended back on the bed, her elbow now supporting, then looking down she ran her middle finger eternally along my slanted right arm. She had stopped smiling. She then diverted her gaze to a static point on my abs as the caressing proceeded to my abs and then my chest. Her eyes now dreamy as someone’s in helpless love.

I couldn’t take it anymore. I held her hand, then reinstating my gaze I tenderly held her face and planted a needy kiss. She began to moan. I moved my body more towards hers (I was only on boxers). The kissing got intense, and before I knew it I was on top her. I hastily pulled off my boxers and I eased into her. She was as warm as the rising sun. She moaned even more. I kissed with even more intensity as I slid in and out. Her hands were around my head. She was the sweetest feeling in the world. As the feeling compounded she rubbed my head affectionately, and I came.

It was only after resting a bit did I come to the full realisation of what I had just experienced. There were no clues, it felt real, and it was real.

She inspired me – my mystery muse. Now I had more than enough to write. I’m still in New York, and tomorrow I’m going to wake up and find that I’m actually king of the hill.

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