Two days blinked and became two weeks, and most things foreign turned familiar. I have learned the streets wrapped around my apartment, the recycled smell of the lazily organized dollar store one block over, and exactly how long it takes to walk to the tiny cash-and-Spanish-only diner that serves burgers almost as good as my mama’s. I know the pattern of these dancing streetlights, how to ignore the sexual advances from the unemployed men who live on my stoop, that there is no such thing as free parking, and that paying rent doesn’t make a place home.
New York City presents itself differently every morning. Today I am greeted by a faint sunrise behind windowsill gardens and skies threatening afternoon rain. By now I know downtown from up, Brooklyn from the Bronx, and am vaguely aware that somewhere in the distance exist Queens and Staten Island. I have side-stepped stagnant beer puddles in Chelsea, drunkenly inhaled fried fish in Harlem, and wondered aloud at the rent of every apartment I’ve passed. There are people on the street at all hours, and gradually I have adjusted to never seeing an empty sidewalk.
My heart reaches for Oklahoma and the life I already know: wide open spaces, cowboy boots worn for purpose and not fashion, clean faces and strangers’ smiles. Oklahoma is Braums and Sonic and real barbecue and Thunder, where the only trains carry cargo on tracks well above ground and pedestrians don’t exist outside of downtown. Oklahoma, a three hour flight from my newborn nephew and only a 90 minute drive from my mama’s house at the center of a neighborhood I’ve never needed to learn.
I miss sweet Oklahoma, where the glory of God is visible from every direction.