NY Times
16th August 2016

He scoffed. Had he ever had a cortado? Did they not know he’d lived in New York for over a year? It was a while ago now, but still… It wasn’t their fault he guessed. How could they know when they’d never lived there themselves? Sure — they’d visited — but just because you know a few Wu-Tang tracks off by heart doesn’t make you an expert on hip-hop. They couldn’t know what it was like to be a part of the city, to be the life-blood coursing through its veins.

They couldn’t know all the things he’d seen, like that time on the subway when he saw that cool guy do that awesome thing. Or when he was at that sweet rooftop party with all the coloured fairy lights. They couldn’t know what it was like to have the best pizza in the world just a block away. Or how it felt to stay out partying ’til 5am in the city that never sleeps. He almost felt bad for them.

Then he felt bad for himself, a unique pang of sadness wrapped in a ribbon of nostalgia; a sense of loss for the place he’d called home for over a year. He missed it. How could he not? He missed drinking coffee out of a jar — sure you could do it here but it wasn’t the same. He missed integrating with all of the different ethnic groups in his up-and-coming neighbourhood, and the feeling it gave him of being among “the people”. He even missed the noise. His life was so quiet now.

He missed living. As in, really living.

“So, have you?”

He snapped out of his daze, “Have I what?”

“Have you ever had a cortado?”

He smiled wistfully, “Of course I’ve had a cortado. I lived in New York for over a year.”