New York City Confessions by Aurora Rivers

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The neighborhoods of the five boroughs are sizzling with stories people hardly ever touch. Million of us pass me by every day but a few souls dared to enter my confessional. Sometimes they want their voices to be heard, and others want to be lost in the third-person narrative. Yet, these New York City residents had something in common, they want their real sensual stories to not be swallowed in the grinding hustle of this electric city.

Heterosexual, LGBTQ, from every walk of life – these stories come to you as diverse as the people from the Big Apple.

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Excerpt from New York City Confessions © Copyright 2023 Aurora Rivers

You don’t look at my face when you step into the Bodega two buildings down from your apartment in the morning—hidden behind regular makeup, light brown 90’s lipstick, and big hoops.  My brown hair is slicked back in a bun.  Your impressions of me are of a regular woman you hardly even pause to notice in her fullness, except to acknowledge maybe that I am taking care of you.  I am snapping that paper bag open with the perfect flip, placing your order inside, and calling out everything you just ordered.

“Bacon, egg, and cheese on a roll.”

“Scramble eggs on a hero, toasted.”

“Everything bagel, toasted, light cream cheese.  Coffee—light and sweet.”

“Egg and cheese on whole wheat.  Black coffee, three sugars.”

It’s a mantra that makes you feel secure and stable, the one thing you can always count on hearing at 8 AM before you head to work, to the classroom, to the office, to the parking garage.  I am there, and you know I got you. Just the checkout girl, hitting the register numbers, getting your order right.  I look you in the eye because my service soothes you.  I just called your order and am about to take your money for it.  And if you want to add anything to your paper bag, like gum, mints, juice, or some fruit, I will fit it in.  I will also notice the rolled-up newspaper under your arm that you are about to give me extra money right before you tell me you are taking the Daily News with you. Just a check-out girl, even though I am almost 30 and hardly a girl.  I look very light brown skin and brown eyes and am very Latina. That is all you know about me before you rush to work.

You don’t see a whole person in front of you.  You may be one of the many who don’t know; my name is Cynthia. And for the longest time, I was happy with this routine between us. I was content to get my pay on Friday and stick it in a bank account before rent day, bills, or groceries.  I happily shared an apartment with my cousin, where she took the bedroom, and I converted the living room into a sleeping space.  Just a regular New York City woman, making it through.  Her parents lived in the Bronx while she somehow made it into a Lower East Side 1 bedroom with a landlord who still worked it out with the tenants, something that hardly happens these days anymore.  This was all I needed for the longest time, until one of my bills rose incredibly. A girl gotta do what she’s gotta do, so I went to find creative means of income.  My credit card use went unchecked, and I paid the consequence monthly. I didn’t realize that what I saw would make me into a night-time person no one passing from the bodega would recognize. I found the ad by chance and entered the establishment.

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