Moving Away: Getting Out of the ‘Hood

Flan from a Goya Box – First Sin

Glass of Pink Moscato from the Barefoot Bubbly collection on hand as I open the fridge to look on my failed attempt at flan. I tried substituting the milk for almond milk (that whole lactose thing gets me every time.) My flan looks so freaking sad. Flan is the most perfect thing to me – so yummy. Cracks in my flan. Even out of a box I could not get it right…
What other cracks? What of the cracks? There are cracks on my ceiling. I think the point I am trying to make in my buzzed state is that I don’t like my apartment. I have lived in the same neighborhood for roughly 23 years. At this stage, it is safe to say that I have outgrown it.

Back in December 2012 I woke up to a cry outside of my window. It was a screeching unsettling cry. Blood curling cry. Something I put out of my mind but it was also the moment I realized I had to leave Inwood and what I considered my neighborhood. A woman had been stabbed by her ex-boyfriend. I had awakened from my pre-New Years Eve nap to her last scream. Last breaths. She did not make it to 2013. Moment to moment – we take it all for granted having arrived at the next instant.  

I walked by today to find that Dyckman Park had been taped off with the white police tape. There was a police van outside. “Another thing,” I told myself as I ignored it on the way to the train station. 
Later in the day, I walked past my neighbor’s door – there was a sign on her door saying: 
Apparently, her home had been burglarized. There are no breaks when you live in the ‘hood – the struggle is alive and well. The realization comes to me that I live in a neighborhood that is not safe. No neighborhood really is (trouble/thieves/criminals travel) but my neighborhood does not have the luxury of being ignorant of this. I get to my apartment and I put the chain lock on my door. 
My sister texted me to invite me to my niece’s graduation. I joke that my dog, Martini, will not be able to make it as her social schedule is full. My sister retorts with “Mary, I heard a woman got raped in Dyckman park on Broadway. So be careful.” My sister is the master of tact like that…
I google the incident to see if it’s the same from earlier in the day. It is. Life is. It is sad. In that moment, my world became smaller. I felt closed in and claustrophobic. I learned that the victim had managed to fight off her attacker. I don’t want to fight. I don’t want to be careful. I don’t want to be restricted. How about we just live in a safe world where these sorts of things don’t happen? 
While looking at the same online newspaper, I find that there had also been a drive by shooting up the block from me a week before. Seriously? At this point, I can’t keep up with the muggings/violence/crime/insanity in this small space of land.
I don’t even know what to say except – F* this! My movement will not be restricted and I will not be paralyzed by fear. I will, however, resolve to move the hell out of here as soon as is humanly possible. Breaking free. I somehow feel ok with the thought of moving out of the ‘hood and moving on. I have not abandoned it – it’s just too crazy/hectic/violent/movie-plot-perfect for me to remain. The craziness and insanity that surrounds me is not me. I feel comforted by this simple thought.
Oh, and my flan – it may look like crap but it actually hardened. This after 2/3 of my Barefoot Bubbly is gone… :). 
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