The Smell of The Summer

This is a post I wrote in a blog writing class of mine during the summer of 2016 (the summer with the broken foot lol).

As I hobble down the cobbled and uneven streets of SoHo with uncomfortable crutches and a medical boot on my right foot, I’m hit with a sweet, filthy scent of nostalgia. Carefully walking over a subway grate, a cloud of subway exhaust that smells vaguely marshmallow-y surrounds me. It’s so strange that this dirty, chemical-filled puff, that is actively destroying my lungs, will without a doubt always bring a smile to my face.

This specific scent instantly brings me back to my first summer in New York City. I was a 14-year-old metal-mouth who convinced my mom to allow me to tag along on my sister’s journey to theatre school all the way from Honolulu. My mom and I would wander around the city without much to do, while I soaked in every New York minute imaginable. "Showtime" kids on the subway dazzled me, I coveted my yellow metrocard, and the bright lights of Times Square had me in awe (the colorful smells, not so much).

I dreamt of a life where this was my reality. It was easy you see, in my dream life I would have an amazing job that made me tons of money, a boyfriend who looked like a Jonas Brother, and an apartment on top of a Dunkin Donuts, it would all be perfect.

While I currently struggle to walk from my Brooklyn apartment (with no outlets in the bathroom) to my customer service job (where yes, I do wear a headset), it’s very easy to be discouraged. This clearly wasn’t the New York that my 14-year-old self would’ve signed up for. And while I constantly worry that New York is turning me into a jaded asshole, every time I get a wiff of the smelly ole subway exhaust I’m reminded that New York can occasionally be pretty sweet, and no matter what, 14-year-old Caelan would be totally “freaking excited” to be here, crutches and all.

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