In a New York Minute




People. Everywhere I turn there are people. This should be expected considering I live in a city where there are six square inches per person available, but what astonishes my mind is that every day of the year more people arrive. Why? That was a senseless question. It’s New York City. Why not?

Lately I have heard the word “cynical” associated with my name and perhaps those brave enough to say it to my face are right. I am becoming cynical. It’s just that I had my life planned out since I was eighteen and I know it was a foolhardy thing to do, but I was young, impressionable, and determined. Of course at that age a person thinks they’re invincible and that life will go according to their plan. Too bad I can’t seem to let go of the illusion since most of it has not come to pass anyway.

By the age of twenty-one I was an orphan, that is if you can call an adult an orphan. Let me tell you that this was definitely not part of the plan.

By Age twenty-six I was working sixty-hour workweeks on Wall Street, and by twenty-nine I was a millionaire. Still am at thirty, like that means much. New York is full of millionaires. The secret is to keep your money, which leads me to my next point. Once people know you have anything closely resembling wealth, they cling to you like you’re the last lifeboat on the Titanic. Okay, now we’re getting back to the ‘cynical’ subject again, aren’t we?

I don’t think I’m representing myself in the best light (which happens often), so let me explain my life a little better. In some ways I’m just like any other guy on the street. I wake up, go to work, eat dinner, and then I try to find amusement until it is time to fall asleep. Straightforward, wouldn’t you agree? At one time I did date women, in fact I dated quite a lot, but no longer. Too, too many bad experiences that all stemmed from the same source—my money. I had it and others wanted it. A friend of mine pointed out to me that I might be going after the wrong type of woman and looking back I can see a pattern to what I was attracted to. To be blunt, I wasn’t after intelligent conversation or booksmarts. Now I’m older and wiser and would really enjoy intelligent conversation, but I’ve forgotten how to play the game. So, I stay at home and live up to the other word people associate with my name “Monk”.

Yes, that’s me-The Cynical Monk

I must go to work now. At least I have my own office where I can spend my days making rich people richer. And yes, this does include myself. It’s a dull job but I’m talented at it. Dull might not be the right word, let me think. No, it’s dull. The highlight of my day is taking the subway. You get to meet a lot of nice people on the subway in the city. I’m joking! Don’t worry about it, no one gets my jokes.

Really, I take public transportation because driving is a hassle, and taking a cab isn’t as great as it sounds. I’m a stickler for being on time, and after you’ve been caught in one hundred different traffic jams (my favorites are when we’re held up so some lout from Hollywood can shoot a movie), you start to realize that the subway isn’t all that bad.

I’m not that dismal of a person. It’s just been one of those long years.


Okay, it is official-I think I have bitten off more than I can chew. Once again I have allowed my pride to lead me in directions that I’m not ready for, but this time I don’t believe I can conquer it. This is sink-or-swim time, and I think I’m sinking.

I think.

I have been in this city for seven months. Seven long, lonely, exasperating, debt ridden months. I’ve been reduced to having to live in the smallest apartment in the entire city that could accurately be described as a walk-in closet with a toilet. I am NOT working as a classical actress, but as a bartender. I have made two friends since my arrival and one of them is an odd little man who stands on the corner of my block. I’m not very happy right now, and as hard as this is for me to admit-I miss my Mother.

It is really time for me to stop feeling sorry for myself. I have come too far to adopt this attitude now. Maybe if I shake it off with a trip to Central Park. No, that may not be a good idea. I’d have to try to figure out the subway schedule and the last time I attempted that, it was ugly. I do know how to get downtown, though. I could go there and walk Broadway. That’s always good for a cry. Just in case you don’t know, I’m laughing at myself and I do this a lot.

Another small town girl with a dream, some pocket money and no common sense. That’s me. I remember my first week here, I really did believe that I would just walk into an audition, wow ‘em with my talent, and leave with the part. Instead, I had doors closed in my face and my purse stolen. The second week was better. I only had my purse stolen. I learned the eleventh commandment after those two weeks: Thou shall not leave thy purse unattended.

Oh…I really shouldn’t laughing because it wasn’t funny at the time, but for some reason it is now. Maybe if you consider that I’m four hundred dollars from being stone broke and it will only take one more purse snatching and then I’m out of here. Although, I’d really hate to leave that lucrative bartending job I have. Now, that would be a pity.

I think I’ll get dressed and take advantage of the situation while I’m still in New York. I just thought of something. If I would paint my purse florescent yellow, I bet I could speed the process up and be on the next flight home by morning. Now, there is an idea. Me with my yellow purse in Central Park, reading a map so the snatchers will think I’m a tourist. I could be friendly and say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ in a thick southern accent. That would be a dead giveaway that I’m not a native.

This just might work!

But I’m too head strong to give up that easily, so I might as well just check the listings for open auditions again and beat the pavement until either my feet fall off or I get a part. First, I must open my window. Did you notice that the word window was not plural? Yes, I have but one window and the bars that protect it from the outside world make it so special to look through. I can lean my head against them and -well, forget that I even started this line of thought. The bars suck (excuse my language), but I do enjoy looking outside and watching the people walking by.

Hum, looks to me that love is in the air today. I’m counting three, no four couples in my view right now. Lucky them. You know, in a city as large as this one, you would think that there would be someone nice for me to go out with. I have never had a dry spell like what I have experienced in the last seven months. One date. One crappy date that never called again.

I have to admit to spending some time wondering about why this is and have come to the conclusion that there are just too many people in New York, and this may lead to them cutting their selves off from getting intimate. Too much stimulation, maybe? Of course, this doesn’t apply to all New Yorkers since that would be stereotyping and I don’t like to label people. This is only my opinion.

I think I’ll just get dressed and go downtown. I’d ask my friend on the corner to join me, but something tells me that he takes his job as doomsayer seriously and won’t leave his post just in case someone new passes by who doesn’t know the Lord is coming tomorrow.


The platform on both sides of the tracks were full of commuters, but two people stood out from the crowd.

On the north side was a man in his business suit holding a briefcase in one hand and a newspaper in the other. His eyes were trained on the concrete as he waited. Briefly, he raised them to take a look around, and that is when he spotted her.

She, the woman on the south side of the tracks with the yellow sundress and long curly locks. She, who was smiling for no apparent reason while watching some children playing several feet away from where she was standing. She, who turned her eyes in his direction and locked gazes with him. She, who gave him the most sincere smile he had received in years.

He was left dumbfounded and for a second considered jumping the tracks to get to her side. But that would be suicide and completely out of character. He chose another alternative and that was to continuing staring at the apparition of hope across from him.

Then an arrival came and she was blocked from his view.

He looked at the number on the side. It wasn’t his. Hoping that it wasn’t hers either, he waited impatiently as people pushed and shoved their way on and off the car. It was the longest three minutes he had endured since last month when he was waiting to see if a merger was going to go through or not. Finally, the squeal of the doors closing before him told him that the answer to his question was forthcoming.

Would she still be there?

She was.

She was also hoping that she would get another chance to see the man on the other side. Despite being slightly naive, she was still a good judge of character. Being small town doesn’t mean stupid. And it only took her one glance to see that only twenty-some feet away was a man she would have liked to meet. It was a shame that the distance between them was impossible to cross.

Until the time for the next train came, they spent their time wondering about each other while unable to look at anything else. It was odd, it was strange, it was incredible. Neither had experienced anything like it before.

Then it was over.

A train came and this time it was his. He did something he had never done before-he crossed his fingers before he got on. Being tall he was able to see over many of the heads on the crowded car, but he could not locate her. The first minute passed as he made his way up and down the length of several of the cars, but she was not on. During the second minute he looked out of the doors. Nothing. How could he have missed her? The seconds of the third minute ticked away and he uncrossed his fingers.

She looked down at the index card she held in her hand. This was the next train that she needed to take. But, the man on the other side. What about him? She let out a breath and thought for a short time. It was probably a silly notion for her to believe that he would be willing to miss his train just he could look at her some more, but she had to hold onto her hopefulness. She ran down to the edge of the outside of the car, wanting to find a space where she might be able to see over to the other platform, but she couldn’t. Keeping an eye on the windows as she passed them, she got on her train and tried to move around so she could find him (she still had the optimism). She lacked the girth needed to easily navigate the crowed car and was defeated in her efforts. With her “excuse me’s” and “pardon me’s” she slowly inched to the other side. He was not there. When the doors closed and they started to move, she released the prospect of ever seeing him again.

The first stop was not far away and as seats were vacated, she sat down. The smile she often wore was not as bright as usual, but it still played lightly on her lips through her disappointment. It could have been nice, maybe. To stop the needless pondering of what might have been, she began to imagine that he was a married man with several children and a beautiful wife at home. This did help; she tried to convince herself

There was a reason he carried a hard-sided briefcase and that was because people tended to get out of the way of it when he held it out slightly before him. His mood was low, possibly even lower than usual, and as he tried to make sense of what he had done. This was easy for him to figure out. He was lonely. Of course, that didn’t thoroughly explain his reaction to the woman he had never met before, but it was a start.

That same friend who had told him he was involved with the wrong type of women had also gave him another good tidbit of wisdom. He said ‘If you ever find someone to love you’d better make sure she knows it.’

But, he wasn’t in love. That would be ridiculous. Still, the phrase stuck in his mind as he traveled back to the car he always rode in. The man detected an empty seat and sat down. It was back to staring at the floor for him.

Now, all he needed to do was to look up and see the woman was seated directly across from him, this time only a couple of feet away. And it was navigable.

She was the first to notice and was about to say something when he raised his head.

The two strangers didn’t know exactly how to react, but they did realize that every second counted because neither knew when the next stop would be the others.

Why not go for it? What was there to lose? Absolutely nothing.

He smiled at her. A real, honest, warm smile, and it was returned with the same. Now, if only he could remember how to properly approach a woman he might feel more like a grown man of thirty instead of a thirteen year old boy rendered speechless by the sight of a pretty girl.

“Are you married?” He asked. This is what popped into his mind first! Not the best opening line he had ever used.

She shook her head no, grinning. “Are you?”


“Are you involved with someone?” If he could ask a blunt question, so could she.

He grinned back at her. “No, are you?”


“Would you have breakfast with me?” He hoped.

“In a public place?” Remember…small-town doesn’t mean stupid.

“Yes.” At this point he would eat it on the street if that was what it took to get her to join him.

“Does it matter that I’ve already eaten?” She already knew her answer to his invitation.

“Not at all.” He replied softly.

“May I know your name first?” She asked. He seemed direct, yet approachable.

“Yes, that might be helpful.” He laughed. “I’m William Darcy.”

“I’m Elizabeth Bennet.”

“Elizabeth Bennet, would you have breakfast with me?”

“I will.”

When they stopped he gestured politely toward the door. Once free of the crowds on the platform, William asked her to ‘please wait a moment’ as he took a phone out of his pocket and dialed.

“Will Darcy here. I won’t be in today.” This was the only time in six years that he had called in sick to work.

“Do you have to be at work at a certain time?” William asked Elizabeth after hanging up.

“No, it’s my day off.”

Another smile crossed his face.

William rented a locker at the station and placed his coat and briefcase in it, taking the key with him. Together they exited the station and walked slowly down the street.


If you are curious to know how their day turned out, I’ll tell you.

Nothing is irredeemable…

That day William found a little bit of the innocence he had lost over the years, and was reminded that life happens inside of a person and not on the outside. And inside he was happy. He ate a hotdog from a street vender for lunch without his ever-present roll of antacids and actually put his hand into the water of a fountain he sat next to. It may not sound like much to you, but to William it was a step toward freedom.

In turn, Elizabeth allowed herself to admit to another person the foreboding she felt being one person surrounded by so many. How homesickness threatened to overtake her courage everyday and rejection was something she had never known before. She told him about growing up on a farm, what it was like going to Ohio State University and the security of being able to leave your doors unlocked at night.

They held hands for the first time at 1:34 p.m. and it was charming the way he shyly slipped his hand into hers. It also felt safe and natural (and yes…that tingling excitement you get the first time you touch someone!).

William offered to see her home that night in a taxi, but Elizabeth was never one to accept charity if she had the means to do for herself, so she declined and rode the subway. Phone numbers were exchanged and promises made. The first and only kiss was delivered at 6:12 p.m. Picture in your mind that classic scene where a man and woman embrace in a busy train station totally oblivious to all that is around them as they pour all of their concentration into each other and the kiss they are sharing. Can you see it? That’s it! That is what their kiss was like.


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