Here to face the fortune and the bile

City life told in the contents of a purse:

The purse I stole from my sister Andrea in 1996. It has mother of pearl buttons and seed beads in white, orange and maroon. The black fabric has faded and begun to tear but I still love wearing it because it is the perfect size for carrying everything I need and light enough that I can wear it across my body and never be bothered.

The coin purse my aunt Michelle gave me in 1994 for Christmas. It’s from Dooney and Burke. Yellow signature tea-colored leather. Inside are a bunch of quarters left over from laundry. I never used to carry cash on me in Arizona because I had no need really.

Pulparindo candy wrappers, from a care package sent by my father. I keep candy on me in case I run out of energy mid-errand day.

A yellow, blue and green keychain with a soccer jersey I got on a trip to Brazil for my 30th birthday. On it are the two keys I need to come home; one to get in the building and one to get into the apartment. In Tucson, I carried around car keys and a car alarm fob but I never locked my front door.

Several shades of red liquid lipstick I wear on days out because it sticks to my face and doesn’t rub off on my mask.

Two hand sanitizer sprays. One in lavender and one in grapefruit. When I’m stressed, I use the lavender. When I’m tired, I use the grapefruit. Sometimes I even spray them on the outside of fabric mask for additional aromatherapy.

Lighters I always have on me because I smoke. But I’ve transitioned to blue American Spirits from Marlboro menthol 100’s. I used to smoke those in my backyard. Now I smoke the hipster cigarettes on solo walks and nights out with Maddie or Mikey. I’ve lived here long enough that I know to ask for the cigarettes that don’t have NY state stamps. The ones with no stamp or out of state stamps are trafficked over state borders and at least $4 cheaper. It takes me a week to smoke a pack, which averages out to 2.8 cigarettes a day, though there are days when I don’t smoke at all and nights where I pass them out to friends. In the city, the good strangers will offer you a dollar for a cigarette, though I never accept. Once I was sitting with Tyler outside of Peaches and a girl tried to bum one off of him without offering to pay so he told her he didn’t have any more. I waited til she was out of earshot and then laughed because it’s so indicative of his personality and we were 60 feet from a bodega so she had no right asking. In Tucson, strangers just bummed.

A Metro Card with maybe $28 on it? I always put cash on my card now. When I moved here I made the mistake of buying a week long ticket and then quickly losing it and the $55 I’d doled out on it. Uber’s were cheaper then because you could share them with strangers. I miss overhearing the conversations of fellow travelers. Now I take the train almost everywhere. I don’t lose my card anymore because I’ve become more disciplined. I had to in order to survive this place, something Terry told me in the tarot cards before I moved here.

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