It was that one August week in Brooklyn when the lumpy bags of trash stewed and steamed on the sidewalks, when the sirens spooned the thick air like pudding, when everything and everyone dripped. I was subletting a friend’s apartment for a 12-day stay, and the place had air conditioning, plus a dishwasher — transformative luxuries I never experienced in my own Brooklyn abodes over the past three years. In this city, extra layers of sweat and suds and soggy skin had always seemed inevitable.
The bizarre balmy gauze of the humidity only intensified my strange sense of displacement. I was in the city I call home, but technically homeless, mentally jolting back and forth between feeling at home and feeling jilted. Like the heat wave, poised for an eventual ebb, I was there only temporarily, and everything seemed tenuous.
The point of the visit was to test the waters, to reassess my stance on New York after my summer away so I could decide where, exactly, to anchor myself next. In the meantime, I was unfixed, floating.