It was a cloudy Tuesday when Marc packed all that he owned into his ’97 Honda Civic. The clouds were ominous, and he hoped he remembered to wrap his drawings tightly enough so they wouldn’t get wet in case there was a downpour. The day was bittersweet. He was torn leaving his mother, who would not have anyone to check in on her now that he was leaving for the city, but he’s been itching to get away from the sleepy beach town he’s lived in all his life for as long as he can remember.
The breeze coming off the ocean brought an unwanted chill. The leaves were just beginning to change color, with a few blowing about his front lawn in the biting gusts. His ex-girlfriend was standing by the hood of his car.
“I wish it could be the beginning of autumn year-round,” melancholy filled her voice. Her eyes welled with tears. This is exactly the kind of scene Marc was wanting to avoid.
“I told you not to come.”
“I couldn’t help it. I just needed to see you one last time.”
“Today is hard enough as it is.”
She reached to touch his hair. Marc tried not to recoil from her touch. It would be a bigger deal if he did. He just wanted the moment to pass quickly.
He finally got in the car, his pants almost falling down, as he lost twenty pounds over the past month. He pulled out of the driveway and turned onto Rt. 6 and headed west. It was a four hour drive, enough time to clear his head for the new phase in his life. He was tired of the artists he ran into in the area who didn’t take art as seriously as he did. He was far too ambitious for the beach bums back home, and he was even willing to go commercial. He sent a bunch of his drawings to a dozen firms and heard back from a startup. The CEO was twenty-five years old and founded his business by linking certain commercial products to Disney cartoon characters. It is now a Fortune 500 company.
As he was crossing the state border, he realized what little he had left behind. He would see his brother every now and then, but he had his own circle of friends that centered around his wife and kids. He lived on the other side of town, which might as well have been the other side of the world. All his art school friends left town ages ago to San Francisco, Detroit, Paris.
Marc ended up in Sunnyside, Queens. A nice, quiet, serious neighborhood where young couples live to start their families. He checked out Brooklyn a little by staying at various apartments he found through Airbnb and he felt the artists there were nothing but a bunch of entitled trust fund babies and posers.
Marc couldn’t do hipster if he tried. He had soft wavy brown hair that has never seen a decent haircut. He would look great in skinny jeans but his legs have only ever known khakis. He was born for Queens.