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POV: Magic.

POV ("point of view") is a series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.
  

Sunday afternoon, a friend DJed a party in McCarren Park. Rain showers came and went, and Megan and I sat under a tree near the speakers, poured whiskey in our coffee and watched the people around us dance. Someone twirled a sequined scarf in the air; a man in a pink t-shirt spun in circles with his arms outstretched. 

“Maybe I’ll write about this,” I said. 

Weeks earlier, I interviewed an artist at his home in Manhattan. He showed me his backyard, littered with trash he’d collected from the streets. He took a seat in the middle of it all, on a sun-bleached leather armchair, legs outstretched. A gold-painted fingernail glistened in the heat.

“I can’t wait to write about this,” I said.

On Saturday, I played frisbee in Central Park. The sun had gone down, and bats swarmed in the air around me, diving into tall grass, fluttering between leaves in the trees overhead. A firefly kindled in the distance.

If I wrote about this, I thought, what would I say? I envisioned the sentences and the words I’d use: flutter, tall grass, the light in the trees.

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“Our lives seem so romantic in your writing,” a friend told me recently. “I was there for so much of what you write about, but we experience things so differently. You always find a big lesson in everything, or some sort of magic.”

I thought about this for weeks afterward, each time I wrote anything about my life. Am I over-romanticizing? I’d wonder, and amend things here and there.

“Your life sounds like an episode of GIRLS,” another friend said. 

“It’s all like a dream,” someone else remarked. “All these things that happen to you.”

I scrolled through pages of writing. “But they happened,” I said.

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There was a heat wave in July. For days, temperatures hovered above ninety, and each night, Jamie and Lily and I would sit on our roof, dipping our fingers into glasses of ice. One evening, Megan came over and brought us wine. Our friend Charlie joined soon after, with sardines and Japanese mayonnaise and thin slices of bread. We toasted with our sardines, holding them by the tails and knocking them together in a floppy, fishy way, our fingers slick with oil. 

A train crossed the Williamsburg Bridge nearby; below us, across the street, lights on strings twinkled in the trees outside a neighborhood bar. Charlie went downstairs in search of cigarettes; Jamie stood at the edge of the roof, calling his name into the darkness, howling at the moon.

“If I wrote about this,” I said, “in the way that I write about everything - with the moon, and the train, and the toast - would it be too much?”

“You could also include that one of us just got dumped, and that we’re all probably wondering whether it’s a good idea to eat bread this late at night,” Lily suggested. 

I sent a text to a friend, and showed it to Megan: We are eating sardines with toast and mayonnaise and the moon is out and it’s magical.

She smiled. “That’s so you,” she said.

I listened to the train, the sound of its wheels, its horn blaring. It was deafening and ugly, and I loved it. 

I’ll write about it, I thought.

As someone who feels like she’s learning to live life after many years of being too afraid, the ordinary things are the most beautiful, and always full of magic. 

And looking hard enough, I find, there are always fireflies and the fluttering of bats. Lights in the trees. Reasons to howl at the moon.

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You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, hereThank you so much, as always, for reading! 
 

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