New York City was a life of constant instruction. That place had something to teach me–something new to show me–everyday. Just before I moved there for school, I remember picturing a concrete jungle, all shadows and no sun. I remember remembering visiting as a kid with my family, my aunt, uncle and cousins, and being so overstimulated by sights, sounds, smells, crowds, that I slid down a wall and buried my head between my knees while the adults priced theater tickets. I thought, that place is going to turn me into a hardened bitch. But New York City had other plans. A nicely folded set of high-end gloves, on the sidewalk at my feet as I waited to cross the street, in the first shiver of winter; they fit perfectly. Someone–someone better off than me–probably dropped them exiting a cab. But it was hard not to feel grateful, and a touch awed by the timing…the perfect timing of everything, always. My epically wise academic advisor calling me on a day we had no appointment, skipping the greeting, and saying “It’s going to be OK” just as I started to sink, fast, under the certainty that nothing was OK. My favorite homeless man (yes, I had a favorite homeless man) reappearing after a days-long absence, the moment hope turned to dread, and telling me where he’d been, chipper as ever. A new, photorealistic grim reaper graffitied on the brick wall of a deli, the morning after I’d been woken by gunshots in the night, and lay there hoping no one died, but thinking probably someone did. And digesting that. Feeling that, in the relative silence: traffic and shouts, but no more gunfire. I started to believe in something. Some kind of connecting fabric. Something overarching. Almost God.