The last leg of my return home is a twelve minute cab ride from LaGuardia at 2am on a Tuesday.
The passenger TV blares but can’t compete with the driver’s stereo, which blasts hip hop. The cabbie and I don’t talk. I’m lost in my thoughts, soaking up the sights and sounds of New York on a late rainy night.
I’ve now lived here more than half my life, but it always feels a little strange to return. Everywhere else is so different from here.
As he drives down my street he says, “this street used to be all African.” It sounds like an observation, not a judgement.
I ask where he lives, suspecting that he must be in the neighborhood from his African accent. I’m right – he lives up on 148th, not too far way.
We pull up to my building and I pay my bill. We wish each other a good night. I’m his last fare of his shift. It’s late and we’re both happy to be home.
(Grand Central Parkway, Queens)