by Karly Rodriguez
I feel that I am involved in what can only be described as an abusive relationship with New York City.
He has groomed me to expect this vicious cycle, such that I almost crave it. I find comfort in his mood swings. Others are too friendly from the onset, which is obviously disingenuous; they are not to be trusted.
Sure, he can be cruel. He forces me to pay almost all my money to live in a tiny apartment that smells of cat pee, far away from my friends and family. One time he even hit me when I crossed him, but it was my own fault—I shouldn't have been texting. He requires my full attention. It's sweet.
He can also be extremely reliable. He knows exactly what I want and can get it for me at anytime. In May, there are a slew of beautiful days that seem straight out of a love story. I pack up my sweaters, dry clean my summer wear (in attempt to finally kill the bed bugs), and I do so happily because I know he's changed. He brought me flowers which means he's truly sorry this time and I (of course) will take him back. I don't need to worry anymore—I can leave my coat at home. I know he doesn't mean to be so cold.
Finally letting my guard down, I walk with one hand in his and the other holding my iced coffee. My sandal catches a crack in the sidewalk, and I fly to the ground. He flashes his cynical smile down on me, both scary and intoxicating. I'm not sure if he pities me, wants to rip my clothes off, or just takes pleasure in my pain.
He's not always like this—I promise. But every time I try to prove them wrong, we wait for him in train traffic for an hour. They tell me to leave him, that it doesn't need to be so hard.
They don't get it.
No one can play music or cook quite like he can. When it's good, it's better than anything I've ever had. We have these magical nights out together, and in those moments, I know that he's worth the work and that he loves me, although he'll never actually say it. He's had it rough and can't always express himself. Taken from his parents at a young age, he was mutilated, beaten down, washed up and put up on display. No matter how much I reassure him, he can't trust that I won't hurt him too.
So we continue on this way until I honestly don't know when.
Why do I stay?
Because I know he's not evil. He is a broken child who needs healing almost as much as I do.