by Annie Thorndike
When I was growing up, I would go to the beach every summer on the coast of Tillamook County, Oregon. No matter where you went in Tillamook County, there was bound to be an ice cream shop, and homemade waffle cones that smelled like angels’ dreams combined with vanilla scented Yankee candles. This scent flowed through every street for 2 blocks around its source. It felt like home. It touched my sinuses like hands on puppy fur, warm and downy.
In New York City, between every blink, breath and step is a sensory cacophony. Mish-mashed and tangled together are the sounds of people’s steps, subways, cabs, glittering lights, models, vagabonds, derelicts. What makes it real for me is the mixture of vintage-old-industrial smell thrown up from the subway grates and the ethereal-perfect aroma of sugar-roasted nuts from a kiosk. It is American glory, grit and independence. It is bright gold marquee lights, feather-edged and glistening, starlets red lips limousine. It is the hard part of the city, and it is the reason why you’re there.
It was the winter of 2013, I was in my most confused period. I didn’t know what I wanted or who I wanted to be. During one cold night my best friend and I watched strange videos on a large screen to beautiful music in another language. Oil-shining morphing people, two dancers in an old auto body factory, a light on a mountain, a ghost ship floating through mist. We both cried, round soft tears floated down her cheek. She had rolled a perfume called Shimmer all over her body. I didn’t like the way it smelled, but I couldn’t forget it. We both felt the same when we left the theater, as if the art that just danced in front of us had scraped a bit of feeling out of the insides of our chest. Later, we sat wrapped in white comforters. Confused, emotional, undirected and hopeful, hearing wintery music and feeling young. When everyone else was asleep, we stayed up, put on snowsuits and climbed on top of her roof and looked up. It was the stars that were bright, but our souls were brighter. In silence we were free, but connected by a promise, frozen like the stars, fleeting like the snowflakes on our eyelashes.
Annie Thorndike is an Early Honors freshman and was born and raised in Anchorage. She is planning on attending design school after graduating. She loves movies, music, and traveling.