‘The driver took the 20-minute ride to tell me why I shouldn’t be upset’

Dear Diary:

It was a hot summer night. I’m 22 years old, and the guy I’m dating has just returned home from a movie shoot in Berlin.

We fought over email during his absence, and the fight continued when he returned. We circled Washington Square Park for hours through an unremembered night, glued even more by tears and screams.

At 3am he ended it while calling a taxi for me. Stunned, I plopped down on the backseat, a cool, air-conditioned oasis.

When the taxi was speeding in the street, I lost it. The driver spent 20 minutes of the trip telling me why I shouldn’t be sad, that anyone who was mean to me would never make me cry like that.

He told me about his happy marriage and three young children, and when we got to my building he sat there with the clock off until I could laugh at a his jokes.

I knew then that I was home.

– Alyssa Shapiro

Dear Diary:

I visited my brother in New York in the winter of 2004. He took me to dinner at Honmura An in SoHo.

The two were soon seated next to us.

“Yoko Ono,” Matt opened his mouth. “Sean Lennon.”

We thought New York was great, without interrupting or acknowledging them while we all enjoyed a delicious Japanese noodle dinner.

A few nights later, we were at the Park Avenue Arms Workshop for a winter antique show. And there she is again: Yoko Ono.

She pointed at my brother.

“You were at Honmura An the other night!” she speaks.

I guess being famous comes in two ways.

– Tavenner Hall

Dear Diary:

I boarded a train number 1 on Chambers Street and sat in the middle of an empty carriage. It wasn’t until we reached Penn Station that I noticed my coalescence in the open sketchbook of the elderly man sitting next to me.

I sat still as far as 50th Street while he finished sketching. He signed the page, carefully tore it down the hole, and handed it to me without saying a word.

“This is great,” I said. “Do you do this often?”

“Every day,” he replied. “On another train.”

“What tomorrow?”

“The 6”

We talked for a while longer. He told me about his time as a city worker and why he used charcoal. I make two more stops so we can end the conversation.

I found the $10 bill in my wallet and thanked him for the photo and conversation.

“I’ll see you again,” he said.

“I certainly hope so,” I said.

I happily walked 19 blocks home.

– Renato de Angelis

Dear Diary:

“Last night was a movie,” Swati said as she bit into her sandwich.

We had all gone out the night before to celebrate Faiz’s birthday on an open mic night at Harlem Nights, where neon lights illuminated drunken faces and a disco ball whirled in front of the stage.

I was immediately mesmerized by the energy of the place: Strangers clashed with each other, dancers gliding along to fun tunes, and waiters holding trays of margarine weave their way through the crowd.

“What’s the matter, Swati?” MC, wearing sunglasses and wearing sunglasses, said. “You go up tonight?”

“You know it,” Swati said. “I’m singing the song I wrote this morning.”

Throughout the show, we watched a parade of musical geniuses: an artist born for the ballads of Bruno Mars, a saucy artist with a homemade beanie and an unusual rapper. obey the law of oxygen.

“Whose birthday is it?” MC called loudly at the break. “Let’s sing for you!”

We cheered for Faiz as he took to the stage.

“Can I play the drums?” he asks.

MC lowered his sunglasses to get a better look at Faiz’s face.

“Do you play?” he asks.

Taking the question as an invitation, Faiz took the stick and hit a perfect intro. The crowd went wild. The band quickly picked up the beat and played the tune.

The backup singers danced to the next chords, prompting the audience to sing “Happy birthdayyy to youuu…” in perfect harmony. We made the best rock rendition of “Happy Birthday” ever.

The whole bar chanted Faiz’s name as he stepped onto the stage, his face bright red.

“Best birthday ever,” he said.

Yes, last night was a movie.

– Laura Yin

Dear Diary:

I was walking south toward Penn Station and the train home at the end of a long day when I overheard two people walking together in front of me.

“LA is hard,” said one. “It’s all about looks. If it’s not beautiful, it’s hard to get anywhere.”

“What about New York?” the other asked.

“New York?” first person to answer. “New York is more about the brain than the looks.”

– Frederick Hurford

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Illustration by Agnes Lee

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