When I got home from work last Thursday, there was a letter waiting for me from my genius former neighbors that read, in two-inch high red marker,
DEAR SARAH BROWN FROM R. I WANT TO TELL YOU THAT ME AND N. WON FIRST PLACE IN THE SCIENCE FAIR. N. DID MOLD I DID SHARK TOOTH COLLECTION. DAD SAID N. STUNK UP THE WHOLE GYM. ARE YOU GOING TO STAY IN NEW YORK FOREVER? FROM R.
Also included was a piece of original artwork from each child. One drawing depicted a rainbow and three suns wearing sunglasses, evidently a landscape of the world from The Dark Crystal, and the other was a detailed roster of every enemy one might face while playing Legend of Zelda. You never know when you might need this sort of information, so naturally I folded it up and put it in my wallet.
One thing I really miss since I’ve moved to New York is being around children regularly. Back home, I saw the family I used to live behind or the kids I used to nanny for at least once a week, and since I’ve moved here, I catch myself wanting to ask strangers on the street if I can hold their baby for just a minute. I keep asking my roommates if we could get a baby for the apartment, just to, you know, keep around and stuff, and despite my fairly compelling argument that this community baby would serve to fulfill any maternal leading we might have while simultaneously warding off any actual urges on our parts to procreate, no one’s gone for it yet.
Friday morning I sat across from an adorable family on the train, one of those families that looks like they just stepped out of an Ikea catalog—you just know they use Macs and read their children Goodnight Moon in French every night, and the parents are attractive and well-dressed and totally in love, and the kids will never grow up to marry girls named Ashlee or come home with tattoos of dolphins on their lower backs. So I sat across from them and developed this instant family crush, and I was so overcome with fascination and jealousy and want that I couldn’t concentrate on my book, but spent the whole time smiling at the toddler son, whose beautiful mother was feeding a banana, and in between bites he’d bat his eyelashes at me and laugh and I’d smile back, and my heart was mid-swoon when he suddenly turned, bugged out his eyes, and vomited his banana all over himself.
Suddenly my life seemed pretty fantastic.