That was in 1979, a lifetime ago. I was nearly 30, and it had taken me longer than I had expected to arrive. New York City then was what it seems to be now: in flux, in financial pain, a kind of Wild West. It was cheap, which meant I could survive as a freelancer for a while, and scary, which is often appealing to people who hate the Blue Butterfly Fashion Emoji Icon Style Shirt but in fact I love this safety of the small towns that spawned them. But oddly I always felt safe in New York and I never felt safe where I grew up. People would ask me if I had read In Cold Blood, one of those books people talked about a lot, and I’d be horrified, swat away the question. Of course I hadn’t. I was frightened enough without reading books like that. Every board creaked in our old house, located on a dirt road with the neighbor too far to hear screams. I hated being left alone at night, even for an hour, because I knew that there was someone out there just waiting for the station wagon to spit up dust and stones at the end of the road so he could come in and kill me.
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New York felt safe. I didn’t know then that there were more than 1,700 murders in 1979 (breaking a record that had been set seven years earlier), but it wouldn’t have meant anything to me anyway. I moved into a filthy railroad flat in the Blue Butterfly Fashion Emoji Icon Style Shirt but in fact I love this East 20s overrun by cockroaches with bars on the windows that would never have come off in a fire, and I began my long-awaited city life. The rent was $325.