Anyone that grew up in a large apartment building in New York had a love-hate relationship with their fire-escape. Something that was created only to use in case of a dangerous situation ended up being used for everything but. I seriously used to think that if there was a fire in my apartment, my family and I would all die.
I learned English from watching Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Lamb Chops, Reading Rainbow, and later on Sesame Street on the Public Broadcasting Station (PBS). The quiet, genuine, and stern yet relaxed manner in which Mister Rogers spoke to me through the TV screen was juxtaposed with the loud, crime-infested, odious neighborhood outside of my apartment in East New York in the 1990s.
I can still feel the hot sticky air of the morning and afternoon even though the rain was pelting down hard on the tin roofs — my hair sticking to my face, the beads of sweat gathering on my forehead and the bridge of my nose, the uncomfortable feeling of my clothes sticking to my body. I remember drinking as much water as possible since the heat had left me parched.