The Winter of My Content
Moss Piglet December 2022
My first winter in the city got off to a rocky start. There was the crabs debacle and
ensuing breakup. He moved out, and once I got over the heartbreak, I was 19 with an awesome
apartment on 89 th Street, living in New York!
Every morning I walked two blocks to Broadway for breakfast. I’d get a muffin and
coffee with a splash of cream in the classic blue and white New York take-out cup, “Happy to
Serve You” in faux Greek lettering on the side. I was a regular.
One sleepy-eyed morning, I glanced down as I was about to step off the curb. A pair of
glasses, lying in the gutter, stared up at me—tortoise shell rectangular frames with deep indigo
lenses. I put them on and the city was transformed. It was dark, really dark, quiet and beautiful.
Colors of everything—street lights, stoplights, patches of snow, the world, were extraordinary.
I wore my enchanted glasses everywhere I went. The Sunday morning when we fell into
a church service on 71 nd Street, darting out as they passed the collection plate. We landed in a
nearby park littered with used condoms. I’d heard the ones that floated in the river called Hudson
River Whitefish. We entertained ourselves making up names for them on land—grass trout,
soggy snakeskin, lost love sock. The night we entered a second story bowling alley on a whim.
Bathed in dark blue, I could barely see the lanes. I scored over 100, the best of my life.
I always thought of New York as a big, lonely city, but it felt as if I lived in a small town.
The super in the building next door knew everybody by name and kept watch over the whole
block. I’d run into friends on the street, meet people all over the neighborhood.
There was Dorothy, tiny lady on the corner of 87 th who asked strangers to help her cross
the street. My friend and I each held an arm. It took three lights for her to shuffle from one side
to the other. We were young, immortal, impetuous, often engaging in risky behavior, but nothing
as life-threatening as crossing Broadway with Dorothy at 8 o’clock on a dark January night.
There was the bald man who wore sandals all winter long. He stood outside the corner
bodega asking anyone who entered to buy him toilet paper, implying he’d pay for it when they
returned. He never paid. We got used to it.
There was Stuart, tall, lanky sandy-haired teen, the oldest of four kids of hippie parents.
He would set out to school and get as far as Party Cake. I’d see him when I got my morning
coffee. Hours later when I passed by on my way to work, he’d still be there. I worried about
Stuart when he spent his entire day standing in front of a bakery. I worried about Stuart when he
Most days I awoke at 7:15 to the blaring of my upstairs neighbors’ alarm clock. Clearly
an aspirational wake-up time for them. I kept a broom next to the bed, pounded on the ceiling.
They argued while the Beatles White Album played on repeat. Eventually they’d retreat to the
bedroom to make up. I didn’t grab the broom. The White Album continued on, day and night for
weeks, the soundtrack of their tumultuous lives.
That first winter, as magical as it was, ended up my last. I reveled in the exhilaration of
spring, basted in the heat of summer, returned to college in the fall.
I’m certain people continued to hold Dorothy’s reedy arm as she stutter-stepped across
Broadway, bought toilet paper for Sandal Man. My upstairs neighbors would learn to hear their
alarm clock and undoubtedly moved on from the White Album. Stuart, I’m not so sure about.
I lost those indigo glasses. I don’t know how it happened. Sometimes I think they left on
their own, opting to stay in New York where they belonged, randomly dropping into someone
else’s life to spread wonder and delight.
They say rose colored glasses engender joy. I say stick with indigo.