I’ve had as many jobs as the years I’ve been on the East Coast. I had a job waiting for me as a credit card authorizer at Lord & Taylor's on
After graduation, I arranged a visit to
I also remember a bobtail cat at my Granny’s house the summer before I started first grade. I began the school year with bandaged legs due to allergies and sores. I don’t think I recalled that episode or my belligerent mother who warned Mrs. Johnson of my condition, and that she’d best be careful about disciplining me should I misbehave, as I tried reasoning with two growling and hissing cats from the other side of the locked door. I slept in the oversized bathtub on her plush white robe, covered with expensive towels as long and thick as bed sheets. She returned the next morning and the psycho cats trotted over to her, cooing and meowing as if nothing had happened. She laughed when I recounted the previous night’s adventure. The apartment was on
I returned to
The often times overwhelming magic of the city was an experimental drug back then, and I was a willing addict. My original plans were to come to
During this early transitional period, the next decisive test of whether to stay took place in a courtroom in
I was fortunate to have met and befriended a Dominican whose family treated me as of one of their own. I opted not to pay the landlord, and in the one-week grace period, I scoured the neighborhood and surrounding areas for a new apartment. I walked into a realtor’s office and used tools from my actor’s training: motivation, cunning, and a desire to remain on the East Coast. She showed me several apartments before I settled on a one-bedroom in neighboring
My Dominican friend, his cousin, and I moved the twenty or thirty blocks between apartments over the course of two days in grocery store shopping carts. When we returned to the first apartment for a final check, a law enforcement officer had plastered a yellow eviction notice underneath a metal rod and bolt across the door. I didn’t mourn the loss of the mop and bucket captive in the tiny abode. The experience taught me that I was resourceful, and perhaps similar to those cats that staked claim to their owner’s apartment.