Worth Waiting For

August 19, 2013 by  
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England IMG_0540

It doesn’t feel like two minutes since I was saying goodbye to my two best friends in Middlesbrough while they stuck Wallace & Gromit stickers to my ass. Or since I ate a salad tower and an espresso in the North of England with my family and my long lost brother. Nor does it feel like a few days ago that I was having gossip and puddings with my childhood best friend or watching hilariously rubbish horror movies with my parents. I’m now sitting in Heathrow, my gut full of pre-travel shakes and the feeling of knowing I won’t see my nearest and dearest for a very long time… and wondering if things will change.

I don’t really know what I’m thinking if I’m honest, it’s 4.30am and I’ve spent the last five hours on a National Express with a small child vomming behind me. It can’t be good for the soul.

But I do know that I’ve been waiting for this trip forever. Or for twenty-three-and-a-half years at least. Whether I was aware of it at the time  or not.

I’ve been writing for a very long time. When I was in lower school, I wrote accounts of school trips to France. When I was in middle school, I wrote fantasy stories about dragons and Japanese warriors. When I was in high school… I started a personal diary. Since leaving school, I’ve swayed between romantic fiction, travel and hardcore journalism. My fingers never tire of the way my laptop keys feel when I type. I still get excited when I buy stationary from Pound Land. My mum still yawns when I spend hours in discount book shops.

So last year, while I was sitting in my teeny tiny student room in Leeds (I was working my way into uni), I promised myself I’d be in New York by 2013. I had black and white maps of the city Blue Tacked to the headboard of my bed. Alas, here I am,  figuring out subway routes and reservations with a great want for Costa’s Finest… and a great need to get the visions of the small vomming child out of my head.

I learnt a great lesson from this. No matter how much you suck at things, determination and passion get you to where you want to be.

I’m feeling very outer body at the moment.  My small on-the-side hobby of taking photographs has somehow bagged me a two and a half month media position in the faraway abode of Burlingham. (Burlingham is a small city in New York State. I didn’t know either). I mean, I don’t even own an SLR.

One of my instant reactions upon being offered this position was, `There are thousands of people who deserve this more than I do!`, which was quickly followed by `That is exactly why I need to prove I am among one of those thousands`.

My great want of Costa’s finest was mildly fulfilled by Caffè Nero.

And then I got on the plane.

 

America

Aside from the hideous air con/nerve sweats combo I had going on, my flight was pretty painless. Hot Pockets and no turbulence? What more could you ask for?

It was a bit manic when I left JFK, though- the Airtrain and subways were uberly intimidating (I sought help from a New Yorker three times my height and I sat next to some dude rapping about candy).

I finally found West 88th Street some hours later- and I couldn’t wait to get rid of my luggage! I checked into the International Student Center in Upper Manhattan straight away (which was pretty decent considering I only paid $35 to stay in the pretty part of New York!) That said, my head was thumping, I felt disorientated and the drop from my bunk bed to the street made me consider an unconscious death wish.

I put some MAC on, drank loads of water and popped some Panadol before walking two blocks to a sanctuary on the corner (better known as Starbucks), which was surrounded by bushy trees, crossings and cabs, aww!IMG_0522

I ordered a latte and a cookie bigger than my face, then nestled onto a giant wooden bench, which I shared with  a talkative lad on a laptop and some free WiFi. For the first time on my trip, I felt human and EXCITED!

That evening, I put on a dress, put my hair up and headed out for dinner with my journalist friend Tom from International Business Times NY. We’ve been corresponding and working together for over two years, and it was amazing beyond words to finally be filled with his presence.

We went to an Italian named Bella Luna- the service was flawless, the salad was rich and the conversation was surreal. It rained. The candles made the street look pretty outside. We got free bread. I promised to pay the bill/offer Tom a job when I’m successful. (Note the WHEN, not the IF. The travelling must be getting to my head. I’m never normally this brave). Nevertheless, I made a promise, and I am going to have to keep it!

I met a dancer from Pittsburgh and a traveller from Austria that night in the hostel. They asked me to come along to a jazz club with them. I was too tired. I will forever be wondering what that jazz club was like, and if the dancer was successful with her auditions.

 

Love, Pixie

xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographers Must Assemble

August 15, 2013 by  
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So…

I’m in England!

After spending nearly three months in New York State taking photos of campers having the time of their lives, it seems impossible that I’m now sitting on my bed in the reclusive town of which I grew up in.

It barely seems like two minutes ago when the idea of flying out to America for an extended period of time entered my brain.Minions board

It was one of the toughest processes of my working days, but believe me when I say it is filed as one of the best.

Not only did I learn how to be an efficient photographer and editor, but I learnt how to be part of a hard working unit.

And we created some special things.

Minions

We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into when we passed through those camp gates, my Media Minions and I. But after 9 weeks of Oreos, sweat and Render Rage, we made it.

And now that we’re apart, I will crack open my heavily written-in journal to share my experiences of the Media Team at Camp Echo.

Because in my eyes, camp should be explained as a lot more than `it was an amazing experience!`

Love,

Pixie

xx

 

Pretty Arctic Climes

February 24, 2013 by  
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Snow Joke

This year, Cleveland has seen enough snowy days to compensate for three English winters. 

Snow Joke.

Where on earth has it all blown in from? 

Lapland? Alaska? The vast expanses of Russia? Lord only knows.

Okay, okay. Gee… `Up North` is supposed to be a totally different world for us cotton wall balled Southerners… but this snow is beyond any rational thought process running through my mind. It freezes my cheeks off every time I leave the flat… and it makes my hair look like I’ve fallen asleep in a bush.

But hey, ho… I’m going to take advantage of the Arctic climes that Middlesbrough so lovingly graces us with every few weeks.

I’m going to forget about delayed buses (I don’t use them anyway), traffic, Primark pumps that look and feel like they’ve been left in a rusty garden for like… ever.

There are good sides to having outrageous weather, too. Like orange hot chocolates. And not having to leave the house unless you have to earn money or assessment grades. And taking pretty pictures in parks.

Mwah

x

 

 

 

 

Giant Thunderstorms in Athens

February 22, 2013 by  
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This is totally something you don’t hear about every day… a thunderstorm in the usually beautiful climes of Greece! RainMid

I was browsing the `world` section on the Beeb and my breath was instantly taken aback. It was like watching footage from an alter universe… or from a country far more flung than Greece, at least.

A river bank had broken under the pressure of being on the receiving end of hours of rainfall. Power cables were damaged and swinging around in the roads. Sunflower coloured taxis joined queues of congested traffic, which were all up to their ankles in flood water. Palm trees laid flat on the side of the beach… not to mention the gorgeous roads and the city’s central subway being cordoned off.

And when on earth did this even happen?!

The people of Athens are saying it’s the worst thunderstorm they’ve seen in over HALF A CENTURY.

Statements like this always worry me; simply because if they haven’t had a storm so bad in so long, chances are they were not expecting it. If a region is not expecting extreme weather conditions, no preparations will be in place.

When I last checked, approx. ten minutes ago, it was said that sixty fire crews are out making amends with the flood.

There has already been one report of a death, a young woman in her 20s… so let’s hope they tame this tiger soon!

My heart goes out to you, dear Athens.

More soon

x

 

 

 

Ode to Mani

February 22, 2013 by  
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Buenos Dias mi angelitos.

And what a beautiful day it is. The sky is still half asleep, and it’s completely silent apart from the sound of my broken computer fan whizzing away. It’s been such a long time since I was last able to write freely without any kind of instruction… I can’t tell you how good it feels!

Me CNN

As a multimedia journalism student, I’ve struggled through hard news; become a bakewell tart recluse as a result of doing video and radio script… and even winged my way through Spanish numeracy (FYI, I don’t understand maths in English). No matter how much I adore university, I miss having the freedom to tap out articles in any style, in any language and at any time.

So… here I am, invading my website with mini blog posts about two of my favourite fields outside of travel journalism; war, natural disasters and anything in between.

There are so many things that astound me (and destroy me) about these areas of journalism. But what amazes me the most, is the people behind those giant foamy microphones, canons and smart phones. Sure, there are some pretty talented fashion, sports and political journalists in existence; I have no doubts about that. But for me, nothing quite compares to the passion of a war correspondent or a disasters reporter. No matter what roles they are playing or what tools they are playing with- be it traditional broadcasting, social networking or filming- they succeed at being something collectively.

 

In my eyes, they are media heroes.

One of my biggest inspirations is actually Mani, the French photojournalist who smuggled into Syria to cover a great amount of the war zone last year. The footage and the level of reporting that he was able to send home was ridiculous; he gathered it from the middle of a gunning demonstration, yards away from Syrian soldiers. Nobody in the media industry can deny that Mani is a fantastic photojournalist. Anyone with a beating heart is unable to deny that Mani is a brave soul and an irreplaceable asset in the name of justice.

Mani is not Mani because he knows how to achieve mind blowing footage in impossible scenarios.

Mani is Mani because he knows how to push himself as a journalist and because he knows no boundaries.

Word gets around that the Syrians are shooting any foreign media that dares to walk among them in their cities. That’s no problem for Mani; he throws on a headscarf and learns how to be a Syrian. Citizens are being penetrated left, right and centre in alleyways near their homes. Mani mingles with soldiers, who could merrily turn around and shoot him dead at any given moment, to gather the footage of the alleyway massacre.

It’s people like Mani that make me proud to be in the industry. He makes me want to throw on a headscarf and learn how to be a Syrian. But for now… I am a mere multimedia student in a warm student room. My deadlines consist of academic essays and politics presentations… but just `for now`. The day that I am able to be an eighth of the journalist that Mani is, is one that I can’t wait to fulfil.

Oh, and how could I forget?

Mani’s news report, `Horror in Homs`, which featured all of the raw footage from the Syrian cities, won the 2012 Foreign Press Association award as well as the 2013 Royal Television Society award.

Enough said, really.

 

Blog: Lib Sequences, Spankies & The European Union

November 17, 2012 by  
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It’s been little over a month since my last personal declaration.

Reading back, I can’t actually believe it. My emotions are swinging from nervous-excited-petrified-numb… I’m suffering from `Carpe Diem` whiplash. Just ask my Facebook friends. Quote/un-quote: “You have so many bloody interviews!”


Welcome to Pixie’s innermost. Follow me…

So the first thing I absolutely HAVE to get off my chest is my obsessive LOVE for my cheer team, the Teesside Wildcats. I’ve always been poor at sports, but nothing compares to this one. I wake up wanting to train, I sit in my lectures wishing to train and I go to sleep aching from training. Ever since my chair, Becky, wrapped me in her pre-heated kitty blanket, I’ve lived and breathed for it.

I live for Teesside Wildcats

Cheerleaders are like multi-talented mass amazing athletes- and I respect every one of them as I understand just how hard they work. We leave on a Saturday night with half broken spines and bruised wrists- but the thought of hitting that reload to extension or knowing that the bruises are in fact finger prints from a kick-ass basket outshines it all.

I am SO excited for the future ahead with the Wildcats. In just two days we’ll be in Newcastle with our poms, shorts and our American football team, The Teesside Cougars… and as Game Day Captain I’m learning the art of non-bullet inducing cheer chants. In the months to come we will be sweating over choreography, breaking more spines and getting measured for our super cute new uniforms in prep for comps early next year. The kitties are like sisters, mummies and hardcore friends all rolled into one. Peace!


Politics is actually really invigorating

So secondly there’s university. It’s a million times tougher, crazier and more motivating than I ever believed it to be- my degree is a killer! I’m doing multimedia journalism and Spanish language, which is bang on for my career. 80% of it is politics, but to be honest (I can’t believe I’m publishing this) I find it really invigorating to know what’s going on beneath the surface! The rest is made up of playing with cameras, mastering computer software, newswriting and social media (AKA everything at the opposite side of the spectrum to me). My Spanish and working on my website softens the edges- but I still have to take a few deep breathes at the end of my week!

I love it dirty- hello Student Union!  

Last on my list but very prominent on my mind is the bits of news I have received recently. I’ve just got a job at my Student Union as bar staff- I had my first shift last night and it was so warm and laid back. Within 10 minutes I was already `awww-ing` and pawing over sparkly tshirts and having far too much fun with the fresh orange machine. It’s a major relief to have money though (all students can vouch!) and I never thought I’d get it- 130 applicants replied to the ad!

News numero dos… visiting my course leaders in their offices and discussing Erasmus forms for my second year… and judging by the nature of the chat, it went rather well! So by the 6th of December I will know if I’ve been put forward to study in an American or Spanish university. Me encanta!

International Business Times UK didn’t set a restraining order

Last but not least (are you bored yet?) is my interview to be a social media intern for International Business Times UK. I’ve wanted (pleaded, harassed, begged) these guys for an opportunity since writing travel for IBT NY last year. I’m majorly scared about this one… and in just 11 days, I will have to present myself as a social media evangelist superhero. If all goes peachy, my summer will be set up!

On a final note, I can honestly say that the commands of my heart have been followed as of late.


Departure: Hurricane documentaries in my student halls.


Destination: Disaster reporting in the US.


Well if Zuckerburg can stem ideas from a dorm room…

Work & play hard,

Love Pixie xx

Sandy:Relief

November 15, 2012 by  
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It’s been little over two weeks since ‘Super Storm’ Sandy hit the Big Apple.




During her two-day war path she managed to kill over thirty New Yorkers and reap billions of dollars’ worth of damage, halting the never-sleeping city to a standstill.  Despite this, our friends over in the United States of America have already been working hard to pick it all back up again.

`Hope for New York` and other national organizations have paired up with local churches in order to bag active volunteers and to pray for the people who are suffering the aftermath. MyfoxNY.com are building contacts with catholic churches of the city in order to provide cleaning supplies, toiletries and food supplies.

Good ole-fashioned fundraising is not the only source working to shake the streets of New York City back into life.

As US Weekly outlined earlier this week, celebrities are getting their hands dirty to raise pennies for the City of Sparkling Lights, too. International sensation Madonna took off her clothes while fans threw notes on the stage at Madison Square Garden recently. Lady Gaga closely followed suit… donating a wealthy $1,000 to her home city.

All-American stores such as Nine West wiped their diaries clean in order to have a day of `sending hearts out to their neighbours`, where they donated 10% of all profits to the relief fund.

All aboard for community spirit!

I’m wishing New York and it’s sisters and brothers a smooth recovery- as well as giving a massive, courteous English Thank You to the media teams who continued to cover through no power and a temporary office. (Mr Dworetzky, you’re doing us proud!)

Love Pixie,

xx

Blog:Pixie Sprains A Wing

October 12, 2012 by  
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Fight or Flight.


If it was the right season, and I were a creeping zinnia, my pollen would spread like wildlife. I am that passionate.
Despite my passion, when things get tough, I automatically conform to `flight mode`. I run away. This is especially true when I am pursuing my work. I am in love with so many things, so many areas and niches, that I don’t know what to do with myself. Fiction. Travel. Weather. The World. Communications. Languages. People.
So this said, I try my hand at each niche. I write fiction for hours on end, candles and coffee on tap, until the sun rises. I begin to master a storyline, I become my 1st person character, my grammar improves. But then I hit a slump. Who is going to read this? Why is my writing so dated? Am I completely messed up, because I write about space and purgatory when I zone out? How will I make enough money to live if I pursue this, anyway?

Am I not creative enough for this?

Then I flitter back to travel writing- my absolute forte. I log back into my website, I write some personal blogs… I reminisce about my days writing in Tenerife and Georgia, I begin to write travel pieces for a newspaper in New York, and I even bag a summer internship for said newspaper. But then that voice hits me again. I’ve never been to New York. How do I know it’s the City of Dreams? My writing is too fictional to be travel. I’m an amateur. I’m not good enough to go freelance and be paid for it, despite the fact I’ve already written features and been paid for them. Oh, and it’s been two weeks since I’ve submitted my intern application for the newspaper, and still, nothing.

Am I not experienced enough for this?

And then the big one hits me. That little vision that I carry around with me everywhere I go. America. My future home.
So I develop a love affair with natural disasters and weather, and my thoughts progress until I am hooked on the American Dream… to be a broadcaster in The States. And oh, what a fantasy it is. So I go through college, progress onto higher education and endeavour onto a degree in Multimedia Journalism. And then suddenly, the voice becomes so loud and so persistent, that I can’t think straight anymore. Broadcasting is viciously competitive. I need strategy. I need balls. I need to stand out. I need a background in science and geography and oh, I will need a few languages behind me as well.

So am I not smart enough for this?

And so… this is me now. Little journalist Leonie- aspiring travel writer, stuck in a rut. It seems that I have abandoned my talents and my own niches in favour of trying to better myself under the influence of other people. It’s sabotage to the soul.
My all-time motto in life is `Follow Your Heart`. Have I been doing that? Absolutely not. This makes me an absolute hypocrite.
I tell myself to Follow My Heart, and that’s what I shall do.

Cue coffee, muffins and a serious brainstorming sesh.


Love Pixie,


xx

The Cloisters at The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Experience Medieval Europe and the Middle Ages

July 3, 2012 by  
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Fort Tryon- a fortress to fifth-fifteenth century art, stone and shrubbery


If you love old age princesses, knights and serenading scenery- a visit to The Cloisters of Fort Tryon Park is a great start to hours of pacing the back street spots of New York City. The sweetly coupled museum and gardens- which belongs to the well renowned Metropolitan Museum of Art- offers more regal architecture and roasted pear chutney than you can charge a jouster at. Whether you want to relive the era of the cavalry inside the hand built walls or unearth bunches of fresh violet from the gothic funnels and archways of the gardens, The Cloisters has everything you can expect from a big city institution. It’s authentic, ultra unique and fills you with time travel wonder before you get a chance to exchange your bucks for a wristband.

With Fort Tryon Park down south, the glistening sky liners of Broadway to the right and the rustic fortress of The Cloisters thrown in the middle- the culture shock of this part of New York City is quite literally… stunning.

Admission to The Cloisters includes extra special exhibitions and entry to the Metropolitan Museum of Art- so if you have the time to explore the rest of the grounds, keep a slot open for the `Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden`, which sees a new artistic feature every spring, and views of Central Park and the City’s famous skyline through all seasons.

Authenticity is when every stone has been sent from the elegant ends of Europe…


Unlike many tourist establishments in New York City and other American cities alike, The Cloisters is packed with authenticity; and little to none of it has been tampered with. Not only was the architecture made to look like a religious utopia, but many of the stones used within the main regions actually derive from five medieval monasteries and one Romanesque chapel- making the atmosphere inside the depths nothing short of spellbinding. Hogwarts- bow down to this beauty.

Let your mind wander outside of its comfort zone…

or feel right at home with one of the several foreign language tours in Francais, Italiano or Español.


European architecture? Check. European horticulture? Check. European cuisine? Double check. European translation? You bet.

The museum offers foreign language tours in French, Italian and Spanish- so whether you want to swoon over a new language of love or whether you’d prefer to listen to your native tongue, they’ve got everything you’re looking for.

It’ll be the seductive tones of the Spanish for me.

Middle Earthly Exhibitions…


Tapestry weaving demonstrations, live music concerts- lengthy talks about beautiful flowers that no one ever knew existed this day and age? The Cloisters is always buzzing with opportunities to educate and invigorate. Be sure to check up on the official website/ social networking sites for updates on the museum’s events throughout the year.

Disembark your steed, untie your suede upholstery…

and leave a little extra breathing room for a beautiful banquet at the Trie Café


Roasted pears, cranberry mustard and sesame brioche, finished with a classic chocolatine and a strong shot of espresso- the Trie café works hard to compliment the museum’s European theme (Remercie les cieux!) Perch on one of the delicate cast iron stools. Breathe in the still Manhattan air from the open air archways running along the side of the Trie Cloister. Close your eyes. Imagine that you’re in France a few centuries ago. Séduisant, isn’t it?

Keep Up To Date…


Days have passed and you’re still pining. Fear not! There are many ways that you can get your fix no matter where you are in the city (or the world). The `Medieval Garden Enclosed` blog, which can be found on the main museum’s webpage, is a fountain of historical facts, trending highlights and news about upcoming events- so that you can read up on your best loved pieces or catch anything you missed during your visit.

If you’re short on time, sign into www.twitter.com/metmuseum for some fast paced news or `like` The Cloisters official Facebook page at www.facebook.comthe-cloisters to read up on leisurely reviews or to stalk lots of professional photography.

Don’t forget to…


blow away the cobwebs of the Bonnefont Herb Garden and discover lilies, violet, sage and other mystical flowers significant to the era.


Love,

Pixie xx

February 14, 1923

June 25, 2012 by  
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Saint Valentine’s.

The world has fallen from beneath my feet. I am searching for a sign of existence; whether it is city, ocean, sky or space. But there is nothing. I am floating and existing within a stark emptiness, and there is nobody, nor nothing, within this wretched world to soothe me back into my living soul. I am tired of searching. I am tired of breathing. I am tired of existing. I am tired of quarrelling with questions and figures in my mind, which never pause long enough for me to understand what they tell. My ankles are freezing now, with the breeze coming from Ellis Island travelling fifty miles per hour before reaching my bare skin like fifty freshly cut diamonds. My knees feel weak as I draw them up to my chest. But I cannot feel their weakness.

The embankment feels like hollow space beneath my bottom. I am unable to feel a thing, really. The lilac chiffon tail of my dress is swaying around my ankles, creating an ounce of warmth each time it wraps around its own, lustrous layers before cuddling my skin. I dab the lower ring of my left eye with a handkerchief, praying to end the stream of tears for just a moment. I blink into the distance until my eyes rest upon three beautiful masses of material, swaying in the midnight breeze, catching the attention of the girl with the fallen world.

The American flag.

The United States of America! I feel as if something great or godly had just flown, at infinitive miles per hour, into my chest. The United States of America: my hopes, my dreams; my home. And for the tiniest second, my woes had been knocked from my mind and my breath had caught in my throat.

No, no, no.

I will not allow myself to be captured again. And certainly not tonight; not after everything that has happened. Was this the plan all along? Is this what fate feels like? Can it be true, that I spent so long wishing, and so much of my energy working, to find my way into this? Is this what the United States of America had in store for me… all along? I feel foolish, and I feel cheated. I look out into the tiny lights, sparkling and blinking in the distance. Had I misjudged them all along? Had I followed them, like little beacons of hope- with no realisation as to how deeply they had lured me in- like a siren to her sailors? Was I wrong to trust Miss Lady Liberty and her beacon of so-called hope? A glacial blonde ringlet finds its way across my face before settling in front of my eyes, protecting my vision. A white, almost angelic steamboat oozing with the latest batch of immigrants passes my peripheral before sailing directly in front of my unruly curls. I can only tell that it is, in fact, a steamboat from the purring sound that is vibrating against the embankment, forcing its way into my bare toes and up through my body. I am not paying much attention to it, not really. The purring is fading almost as fast as it had arrived, and the white is displayed only in small flashes as the wind forces my hair back and forth in front of my face. There is not much to think of it, really. Unlucky, chaps- I can only wish you the best of luck here in New York City.

The City of Dreams.

Focus, Belle. Focus, focus… focus. That is what my mother had always told me. I must focus; and no matter how much it pains me to do so, I must remember even the smallest detail of the Fourteenth of February, 1923. I must write it down on paper so that I will not forget now, and so that I will remember always.

Dear Leicester; my sweet Leicester. My love. How could this have happened to you- such a sweet, righteous man? I allow my head, full of bright blonde ringlets, to fall in between my knees. What would Leicester say, if he were here, witnessing me in such a state? I know exactly what he would say, word for word. They are words quite impossible to forget. He would say, “The world is yours, Duchess,” Expect for, you were my world, sweet Leicester; and now that you are gone, everything is broken. America is broken; our lives together are broken, and I am broken.

A fresh tear protrudes my heavily made-up cheek, sending streams of coloured powder in awkward directions. The liquid onyx below my eyelashes is simultaneously stinging and causing my eyes to blur. I curl my fingers around the amethyst coloured rosary that hangs around my neck. The cross is cold, much like my heart. My eyes search for an empty piece of sky above Ellis Island. I hold the cross so tightly that I fear my blood will not pump around my veins. My lips are sore with tear stains and cold air. I pray. I pray that Leicester is in a better place; and that his predator collides with every piece of Karma to ever grace the earth. I pray that I will get through this alive, and that America will still beat strongly in my heart afterward, as Leicester promised it always would (he could see it in my eyes). I breathe inward, the air igniting the inflamed bags beneath my eyes. My nasal passages feel restless, sending trickles of liquid through my cupid’s bow and onto my lips as I allow several sobs to escape my throat. Sea salt.

I pray until the moon swings over the dusky Manhattan skyline and it is morning again.

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