It was 5 AM in the morning. Carol was eating chicken nuggets when she heard the gunshot. A cold chai latte from Starbucks stood among scattered books and papers because she didn’t have a microwave. The room got terribly hot because the air conditioner had been broken since last week. Carol opened the window, and then it got too cold. I hate the weather in New York, she thought to herself while hitting on the keyboard, and I should probably take a shower. “Bang!” Carol was fascinated by her weird, funny brain when she heard what sounded like a gunshot. At first, she thought she was hallucinating because she hadn’t slept for almost 20 hours and had jelly beans for dinner. After what felt like ten minutes she heard the siren cutting through the dark blue sky. At that moment Carol felt nothing. So what, it’s just a gunshot, she thought, some idiots might have fired the thing unintentionally.
The next morning, she received an email from NYU Public Safety reporting the shooting. It happened in Washington Square Park, which was only 30 seconds away from where she lived. When her classmates were talking about the shooting that day, she interrupted the discussion, “Yeah I heard the gun. I live close by.”
“Wow, that must be scary for you.”
“Not really, but now that you mentioned it, yeah, I could be scarred for life,” Carol mumbled to herself.
Carol was a bit scared—The gunshot shattered her New York fantasy. After class, Carol thought of how she squeezed herself into a flying tin can for 15 hours to be here. The movies told Carol that she could eat brunch near the fountain while listening to life jazz, and see pretty people passing by. They never told her that she might hear gunshot outside her window while writing papers, and eat greasy food that tastes disgusting after it got cold. Walking through the park after class, she saw a bearded man singing Imagine at his piano near the fountain; an old man was sitting across him, drawing a portrait of him. A young man was sitting on the bench and playing the harmonica on the east corner, with few yet attentive audiences. A band was playing live jazz at the south corner, surrounded by cheering fans and their pets and babies. From where Carol is from, you don’t hear gunshots, but you don’t have this either. Carol sat by the fountain, took out her notebook, and wrote: Every time I want to go, you give me a reason to stay.
She received another email about the follow-ups of the gunshot the next day: Turns out some idiots fired the thing unintentionally. That morning, she ate brunch near the fountain while listening to life jazz, and saw pretty people passing by.