I miss the feeling of fresh air in my lungs, the kind that fills you up and in one moment seems to remind you of all the simple things in life. I miss the way the morning feels when you just step outside; the way it's a little too cold but the crispness is exactly what you need to remind you it's a new day. I miss the wind against my face and its harshness; the way it challenges me to endure it a little longer and ignore the fact that it's messing up my hair.
I miss seeing strangers, the way my friends laugh as I strike up conversation with them. I miss reveling in the beauty of human life, the beauty of two people who share a moment but will never meet again. I miss cherishing small universalities that made the world feel smaller and laughing at the absurdity of life in a way that makes you belong. I miss chance conversation, the interactions that we try so hard to avoid.
I miss riding the subway, the way I was simply one of many. I didn't stick out, and I never wanted to. I miss the feeling of newness and mystery with every new car I entered, the way I could be someone completely different than who I am, the way these people would never know. I miss pretending I knew what I was doing, that I was one of those lackadaisical 9-to-5ers who stared arrogantly at the laminate mattress ads, simply over it, instead of a girl from a small town who still got excited about a train that ran underground.
I miss the sound of airplanes over my head, the way my mother would comment on them because it was so foreign to her from where she was on the phone. I miss looking at one of them every once in a while and wondering where they were going, and if I could go too; I miss pretending for a moment that I could fly away from the predictability of my routine. I miss the rattling of trains, their predictable schedule, the way they rocked and quieted my mind when I was upset, the way they reminded me of going home. I miss people going places, having a reason to leave home.
I miss the buzz of late nights, dancing in a haze with people who aren't quite themselves. I miss walking between piles of out-of-place books, wondering why they never have the one I need. I miss 7pms in my bedroom on the floor, recounting the happenings of our day with an enthused satirical tone. I miss aimless conversation, the kind that lulls and reminds me I'm good at small talk, or the kind that stirs something inside and reminds me I'm not alone.
I miss the view of the café, the same every day, or the view of the gas station which somehow makes the sunset look prettier. I miss the blocks of squares that carry on forever and the way I could sometimes see the blue and red of a siren in between them, but never quite hear it. Most of all, I miss the view of the city, a city where I first knew love and pain and that reminded me that mine was only one of many.
I don't miss not knowing that it was these things that I'd miss the most, that it was the fresh air and the strangers and the dirty tracks I would ask for back. And when there is a back, I'll know to celebrate breath and people and the MTA, and conversation and sirens and the view of a café.