By EMILY WYKOFF
A blonde woman stands on the Brooklyn Bridge, waiting. Lifting her hand, she brushes a strand of perfectly curled hair into her scarf. She waits patiently, eyes staring off into the distance.
People pass by her. They barely notice the blonde in a Burberry trench coat with a pale gray suitcase. The New Yorkers keep moving. Always forward. Never back.
The woman checks her watch, blue eyes lowering to face the analogue machine on her wrist. Whatever, whoever, she is waiting for is late. As expected. Or maybe she’s just checking the time.
Standing on the Brooklyn bridge one can’t help but remember that Nick Carraway preferred the Queensborough. That this isn’t seeing New York for the first time. This is not some idealized variation. Not a sparkling, 1920s-esque fever dream. That whoever is here knows this city. Where to go. What is happening.
Or maybe she simply likes this bridge better.
The woman waits, and as the sun begins to set and the lights to dim nothing changes. She simply takes a seat on an empty bench, her red lips glowing in the twilight.
It begins and ends with a woman waiting, a woman watching, a woman breathing. A woman’s desire to be treated better. Gatsby and Daisy. Elinor and Edward. Catherine and Heathcliff. A man and the object of his desires.
But she waits for no man.
The woman’s red lips could have been fire. They could have burned the whole bridge down. No one would have batted an eye. It would have been a remarkable power. Instead, she does nothing of the sort. She crosses one leg over the other, shifting in her seat.
One would think that this kind of waiting would be the beginning of a love story. Moments like this are always perceived as such. A strange circumstance, someone always meeting someone at the exact right moment. Women with men trailing after them. Sunsets and kisses at midnight. Waiting. Waiting for the right moment.
New York at night is fascinating. The buildings shine, like stars fallen from the sky. The world lights up. The city that never sleeps stays wired. Caffeine fueled and nicotine addled. People stay up and the world stays magical.
The people roaming New York at night pass right by the woman on the bridge. Too drunk on alcohol or life to notice her, someone out of place but not strange. A gorgeous woman who can blend into the background. Make herself almost invisible. So classically beautiful she’s almost a statue. People walk by her, making no note of her appearance. She sits, angelic, a woman out of time. Out of place. Out of mind.
No one enters the Brooklyn Bridge late tonight. Somehow she got it closed off. Maybe with the power of a wink or a smile. That remarkable power of her red lips. Or maybe no power at all. Or maybe it’s all a fantasy.
The blonde is left sitting alone, smiling into the distance. Her red lips, more maroon in the darkness. There isn’t enough light on the bridge, but the city sparkles, dancing off of the water. Manhattan and Brooklyn separated by a shining strip of sea. Crossable only by man made structure.
The woman moves, unzipping her suitcase and pulling out a pair of pink pointe shoes. She reaches down to tie them, crossing the ribbons with a perfectionist’s precision. She pulls off the scarf over her hair before standing and shaking off her coat to reveal a short black dress. The tulle skirt flows beneath a halter top, sparkling with the help of Swarovski crystals. The shining of the cloth mirrors the decadence of the city. She drops her coat onto the bench, leaving her belongings on the Brooklyn side.
She straightens, placing her arms above her head.
There’s a pause.
Only for a moment.
Only for her.
Or maybe only in her mind.
New York, the loudest city in the world, is silent.
In a single movement, she begins to turn. She drops one arm, then the other. It’s not Balanchine, not Graham. It is something of her own devising, something beautiful.
The blonde dances from Brooklyn to Manhattan, stretching her limbs before the New York City skyline. And, finally, she stops, once again looking into the distance. Once again waiting.