Alana Hope Levinson is a staff writer/editor at Matter, Medium’s flagship publication.
9:10 am, bed, Prospect Lefferts Gardens: The first thing I see when I wake up is this text: “Do you ever think I wanna be a model but I’m not good at doing stuff with my face?” I am still drunk having only went to bed a couple of hours ago and it hurts to look at my screen so I don’t reply and quickly bury myself under the covers. The construction across the street has already started. I get angry for a second then remember that it doesn’t really matter, because somewhere around age 25 I completely lost my ability to sleep in. I realize I’ve also lost the ability to drink. Two palomas and three proseccos used to be mere child’s play but now they essentially make me go blind with hangover.
11:23 am: I am not really sleeping but I’m not really awake when I get the FaceTime call. This is the main way W. and I communicate since he moved to Seattle. I pick it up on my iPad and then whine that I feel terrible and would like him to bring me Gatorade and snacks. He can’t, of course, but I like to pretend. We talk about what we did last night and also how we miss each other and how I look like I’m “struggling but still pretty.” I tell him it’s because I still have my makeup on from the night before and also that he is lying. It somehow comes up that I love shitty reality TV, a fact I guess he didn’t know. When you don’t live close to someone they miss out on the little details, the embarrassing ones you don’t broadcast. I see his insanely nice new apartment in the background. It’s completely unfurnished and blindingly white and I allow myself to fantasize about making it cozy.
12:30 pm: I’m late to meet C. I quickly throw on the easiest items: black jeans, a jean shirt, Chelsea boots, a big scarf. I spray on some 10 Corso Como because perfume always makes me feel better and seem more put together than I actually am. I decide to walk up Bedford to Crown Heights, because walking is how I heal myself.
1:10 pm, Butter & Scotch, Crown Heights: I arrive and notice that her beautiful skin is glowing and she’s wearing a comfy sweater that looks like a carpet. I want to be her and not myself. We order biscuits, and a boozy milkshake and cook up a story idea for my latest Matter project, the Winter Weird, that we think will piss people off. I’m reminded of how much better it is to scheme, to tinker with ideas, in person.
3:17 pm: I start the walk home and decide I’m still kind of hungry. I almost always feel this way after brunch, even though I end up spending a ton of money. I get an intense crazing for tater tots and pick up some frozen ones and feel really guilty about my eating habits. By the time I get home my exhaustion takes over so I drop the bag on the table and collapse into bed for a nap.
5 pm, bed, Prospect Lefferts Gardens: My alarm goes off and I want to keep sleeping but know I only have 30 minutes before I have to make the trek up to North Brooklyn. I wear the same thing, only switch to a flannel and Santal 33, a musk that smells like it was meant to be worn on cold New York nights. I smear on some Wet & Wild pink lipstick and call an Uber. This isn’t a trip I take often so I stare out the window as I pass streets like Hooper and Borinquen, where an entirely different version of myself once lived. I see the bar where we’d go to pick up boys, the one where I had an important first date, the park we’d do cartwheels across on our way home after last call. I try to feel nostalgic, but the only emotion I can place is relief. To not be 22, to not be her anymore.
7 pm, Roman Catholic Church of Holy Family, Greenpoint: We are having trouble finding the church, but spot it just as it’s starting to drizzle. A different C. has invited me as her plus one to this secret show, where Kelsey Lu will be recording a live album. I don’t know the artist or any of the self-serious music industry types huddled out front smoking cigarettes. I feel intimated and the Catholic location doesn’t help. I need to go to the bathroom and am told it’s inside the confessional, which I find hilarious. For a second when I’m trying to get out I think I’m locked inside and start to have an anxiety attack. I eventually escape and head back to the pew where we wait for the artist to come on for another 45 minutes.
7:45 pm: I’m annoyed, but it’s worth the wait. Kelsey comes out and looks like a goddess draped in long gauzy fabric. She heads to her cello and begins to play it over loops and melodies. Her voice fills the entire church, which smells of incense and candles and weed from the jacket of the guy sitting in front of me. “I see you in my dreams,” she repeats over and over. “You are running out of time.” I feel full in a soul kind of way.
8:33 pm: All I want to do after is head home and hibernate. I hug C. goodbye and tell her “I love you” and “thank you, this was great,” and “please take me to more things.” I like that I feel absolutely no desire to stay out, something that would have been ludicrous five years ago. I hop into a car and close my eyes, this time not compelled to look out the window.