The speed of light in a vacuum is exactly 299,792,458 miles per second. But in SoHo on a Summer Saturday night, the speed of light is directly correlated between the amount of alcohol consumed times the humidity in the air.

Yellow cabs rush through yellow lights while bridge and tunnel trucks honk their horns as if it were a mating call. Eighteen dollar cocktails with mostly ice bore me to tears but leave me hydrated for a walk to the hipster speakeasy in Chinatown.

My girlfriend walks ahead of me. She should find someone more suitable.

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I think I fell in love when she told me she hangs out at Mars Bar on Second Avenue. My art has been suffering (and that is art with a lower case ‘A’) as well as my friendships, but I guess you leave those things behind to keep up with her. Even though we dated for four months I went to her apartment only one time, and that was because I pretended I had business in the area. The cliché thing to say right now would be that she wasn’t like any other girl I have ever met. But I won’t say that.

The last words that were uttered between us were text messages.

“So this is it? What about yer clothes?”

“Throw em out.”

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After figuring out my pillow felt so hard because it was actually the bathroom floor, I use all the strength I have left to lift my head. My cheek sticks to the tile from vomit and sweat. Once I raise my head, I see a puddle of dried bile and blood — A mixture of dark reds and greens. My throat is raw and I am totally dehydrated.

Last night couldn’t end. It couldn’t end because then I would have to face this tidal wave of a new year. Another year passed with no one seeing my work. How is this worth it? I should just go into finance. I try to remember the evening. I know I kissed a girl at midnight. Carlie, maybe. From Greenpoint? I did a shot, maybe a line and I don’t remember much from there.

But what I do remember is making a new year’s resolution sometime around 4 am.

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“Exhilarating,” maybe MOMA would say. “One of the best artists of our time,” Larry Gagosian could declare. “Completes our study of Post Modernist work,” Saatchi Gallery might boast.

Only if I could afford the rent. At an average of $48 per square foot, something’s gotta give. Even exiled to Avenue C, I still had to install a curtain and forfeit my futon so I could rent out my kitchen to an “aspiring” fashion designer. There’s not enough room for me to paint and now storage is so tight, my work has to go to the curb. Better those few passersby are exposed to it then for it to sit in the back of my closet until I’m 50.

“A long and fulfilling career is certainly ahead for this wunderkind,” the subhead would read in ArtForum.

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At 4 o’clock, I still didn’t have a costume, but when Ty convinced me that Halloween is the best night to go out in the City, I figured that I had to go to Ricky’s and come up with something. Four Gin and Tonics in, I was still pissed that I didn’t get invited to that exclusive Flavorpill party. But hey, I sold some paintings this week, I can celebrate. Granted they were to my aunt and she didn’t even cover the cost of supplies. Little did I know that somewhere between the Delancey roof party and the Murray Hill sausage fest, I would find my Half-elven, Arwen.

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Some people will never know the feeling of having a dream crushed. A goal, a purpose, a desired identity. Maybe I should have majored in accounting. The pride of ramen noodle dinners wears off quickly. But maybe this is the dream. To be in New York City and hungry.

Either way it will be better. At least for the time being, because I’m three beers into a three day bender.

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Little did I know that one day there would be a direct correlation between how many words I can type per minute and having enough money to do my laundry. There is something noble about looking around your apartment for change to do your laundry because your bank account is at zero. Why don’t they make washing machines that take credit cards? Being part of the world, even if it is staring at a dryer go ’round and ’round, is something to look forward to. The emptiness of a six floor walk-up at 2 in the afternoon is too much to live through for another day. I should probably work on my typing though, maybe then I can splurge for the extended drying cycle.

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The cut only goes so far when you clip coupons with a nail clipper. I’m somewhere between depressed and distracted. I feel more like the fan, that’s limply circulating at my feet. It tries it’s hardest to do something, to make things better. But really it’s just stifling in this room.

I scatter the clippings on the table with my fingers to see what dinner will taste like this week. Goya Beans for ¢35, 2 liters of Apple Juice for ¢99, Canned Tuna $1.99. I take as deep a breath as I can, plotting my course down Avenue C. A twinkle catches my eye as I walk to the door to escape my studio apartment. It’s the foil from my diploma. A Bachelor of Fine Arts.

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