By: Taeko Gupta Instagram/Twitter: @taekogupta
Personal Blog: https://tgupta820.wixsite.com/taekogupta
Last weekend, my friends and I took a 4-hour bus ride to New York to get some good Instagram content.
But I came back with so much more.
At 6am when the bus pulled out of the design building; I had no idea what to expect from the trip. I thought I would come back tired and sick of my friends, but more importantly, I was thinking of my friend Loreta as I sat on the bus next to Nora (a random foreign exchange student who offered me Saltines at 7am) knowing I would’ve been sitting next to Loreta if she hadn’t slept through her alarm and missed the bus to New York. I wondered if her FOMO would overcome her and force her to buy a $50 ticket to meet us in the middle of Manhattan later in the day.
Right as we stepped off the bus, Constanza (our designated photographer friend) almost got hit by a biker who cursed at her as he angrily sped away. I watched him zoom off into the distance with a bouquet of wildflowers hanging off the side of a DIY bike basket. It was small but it put a dorky smile on my face. This young man was in such a rush he would have run over Cons in an instant but under that hard exterior of a mean, in a rush, New Yorker, was a big softie waiting to go home to give someone he loved flowers. Maybe he wasn’t (they could’ve been funeral flowers or “give me a raise” flowers) but when I saw that- I thought of love.
While we walked along the Brooklyn Bridge, we saw tons of little locks with initials and hearts hugging the metal caging of the bridge. The bridge itself was marked with people’s love- dates, initials, quotes, and hearts. On my right there were people on bikes yelling at me to get outta the bike lane. But on my left, my hand lingered on the bridge, tracing all the little indicators of love. I saw a guy riding a BMX bike and facing him was a girl standing on the little pegs laughing as they struggled to get up the bridge.
Everybody around me was in their own little world.
It was like living in a TV show where I was an extra for a scene where the actors take their love interest to New York. Everything in this episode was sepia toned and in the background there was soft soul music playing.
I was sitting on the bridge when I looked down and saw a heart outlining the words “Girls Trip 2004”. My mushy gushy heart leaped at the thought of some group of girls 15 years ago sitting in this exact same spot just like my friends and I were doing in that moment. It showed me that love is so timeless and universal, it doesn’t choose people to bestow upon, and it’s not hard to find. Love can be found anywhere between anybody.
And that’s what makes it so beautiful.
Anyways, remember my friend Loreta (girl who slept through her alarm, had grade A FOMO, and dropped 50 bucks for a bus ticket to come hang out with us for a couple hours in New York)? She made it! The four of us were finally together and on our baddest behavior (which basically means we lost the tour group four times).
While the sun was setting behind us, we ended up in a cute cafe on 34th St and 9th Ave. We were exhausted and our feet hurt but we sucked it up and bought a coffee so we could sit, pee, and of course- use the Wi-Fi.
The two girls working at the café decided to put on “Shallow” from “A Star is Born” and somehow our tired asses mustered the energy to belt out every line of the song. The cafe girls started harmonizing and dancing with us and we even got a man on a call at the cafe to sing along with us too.
In that moment it didn’t matter whether we were lost/late, if our phones were dead, or how much our feet hurt.
It was just a group of girls in a tiny cafe in the middle of New York singing.
It was euphoric to not hold anything except for love and joy; even if it was just for 3 minutes and change. It felt relieving to be fully in love with the moment, with my friends, and with the song. On the outside, New York is littered with shitty people who are mean, aggressive, and will run you over with their bikes. But the closer you look on the bridges or on the sidewalks- there is so much love dusted around. It’s so subtle and gentle that it almost goes unnoticed.
25 dollars and two sore feet later, I made the trip back realizing how universal love can be; even in a place like New York where no two people are the same.