We trudge down the streets of New York City. It’s hot and it smells like roasted peanuts and all I see is the energy of busy people. A million bodies pass us by, a million conversations are going on, and we’re just a couple of guppies in the middle. Small.
It’s fun, being here with you. Living with you in your place for a few weeks. It feels like best friends playing, like twins coming back together again. We are a lot alike, you and me. How we both make our voices go up real high when we’re nervous around new people. How we both deflect positive attention and squint our eyes because we’re smiling too hard. How we both pretend to be waving at nobody when we’re scared of that creepy-looking guy on the same block. How we both get teary and soft at the drop of a hat.
I’m proud of you, of your maturity, of your competence, of your strength. Of all the ways you are not like me. I am in awe of you. Suddenly it gets very crowded and I’m forced to walk behind, and that’s when the lastima pulls me down like I’ve fallen through a subway grate to the center of the earth.
Because you walk with your feet turned out. You walk in a plie’. You walk like each set of toes are pointing to an opposite corner. Ohmygod, you waddle. I need to make sure no one else can see it because what if they poke fun at you. How do I hide your feet?!?
Even though you’re telling me a good story, animated and happy. Even though we make it to the restaurant, and it will be delicious. I can barely recover. Because no matter how big you get, you are always little to me. Loving eyes makes things look smaller than they appear. And you just might take over this giant apple, you just might become a shark. Yet you’ll still be kind, and I don’t want anyone to take advantage of that kindness. You’ll still be the sweetest fish I know.
Just practice walking straight for me, will ya?
p.s. Sweetest fish not to be confused with Swedish Fish.