I’ve never felt so close. I’ve never felt so all alone.

My trip to New York can be summed up: Brooklyn / two short people / one tall one / others, briefly; Manhattan / two tall people / modern art / a walk in the park; In Transit / too many hours / three black men.

To expand a bit on that last point, I’ll briefly mention some conversations I had. The first, while I was waiting in line for far too long at Port Authority, was with a kind elderly gentleman on his way to Birmingham to see family for the holidays. He told me about public transit when he was younger. I told him about public transit in Tanzania. The second was with a fellow about my age from The Gambia, seated next to me on the bus. He told me about his country’s birds. I told him about Mt. Meru. The third conversation was with a Tanzanian whose son happened to overhear the conversation I was having with the Gambian and asked me if I spoke Swahili. When I said yes, his father asked me some questions in Swahili and we had a gratifyingly fast-paced conversation. He and his Australian wife were traveling around the U.S.

After that conversation I put on my headphones and dozed for a while, the Cowboy Junkies’ The Trinity Session intimate against my ears. When I woke up somewhere in the middle of Jersey I wound up alternately fending off conversational advances from the Gambian and staring out the window.

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