Today I am sharing this delightful piece of writing by my daughter Alya Kassam
You will find more of her work here
New York Evenings
“This was a piece I wrote for my English assignment. The question asked me to imagine I’m on the street, turn my eyes slowly from left to right and describe what I saw. This was a bit of a challenge for me considering I mostly write to express, but I thoroughly enjoyed writing this. I’ve never been to New York, so this piece is entirely from my imagination.”
It’s an early evening in Manhattan and the city is as busy as it ever was. I’m standing at a junction about to go, but I decide to have a look around. I’m looking to my extreme left and there’s a window of a coffee shop. The setting gives off a calming ambiance. It’s busy, but not crowded. The furniture is vintage, but has a sophisticated touch. The lighting is bright, illuminating the expressions on each and every customer’s face. There’s a couple that’s engaged in an excited conversation. Her eyes are lit with excitement and her smile is from ear to ear. I can’t see the expression of the man, but he’s leaning back, and it looks like he’s laughing. On the table to their side is a brunette girl who looks like she’s in her early twenties. She is sipping coffee and stealing glances at them, possibly envious of what they have. There is an old couple with a younger man, possibly in his late twenties. He must be their son. The old lady’s expression is calm. She has a gentle smile as she listens to the young man talk. The old man is more active in the conversation, laughing heartily at something the younger man says. I see the waiters bringing cakes and coffee mugs to the tables and collecting their tips. They have no time for facial expressions.
I proceed to look straight. The sky is a faded blue and the sun has gone below the horizon. The cars are driving at a medium speed. There are yellow cabs, silver cars and several motorcyclists. The street lights have started to switch on, showing the different shops in the street. There is a bar, where the cars are starting to park and the men are walking into, hoping to enjoy a fun Saturday night. It appears to be busy, from the looks of the number of people walking in. It looks like a dentistry with dull white lights which have switched off. A man in a lab coat steps out, probably the dentist, who is done for the day. He removes the lab coat, places it inside a car and walks straight to the bar. A large purple sign is flashing. It says “Bounce!” which is a warehouse filled with trampolines for children. I can see parents taking their children home while they beg their mothers to stay for longer as their fathers ask them to be quiet. There is a young lady in a trench coat who is standing opposite me. She brings out a violin and begins to play. She could be famous or she could be close to homeless. But her eyes close and she lets the strings do all the work. I can see she is quite passionate about her music.
Towards the right of the street is a fast food restaurant selling pizzas. Many workers are taking boxes of pizzas and putting them in their motorbikes as they drive off into the evening. Teenagers are laughing and entering the shop, hoping to enjoy a good night with delicious food. But to my extreme right, I find a music shop, whose lights are still on. There isn’t a single customer; the only person in the shop is the faithful salesman. I can see the classic vinyl records, which are framed. Stacks of old CDs are placed on the racks. I spot a section with many musical instruments. I can see a shiny black grand piano and a large golden saxophone. A large selection of guitars are placed on their stands, from the small brown acoustics, to the large black electric guitars. Stacked down are ukuleles, violins and cellos in open cases. The wooden material looks untouched, carved to perfection. The salesman sighs — out of disappointment, I presume — switches off the lights and locks up. He spots me looking, then turns around and heads on his way and I do the same.