By: Adrienne Thomas

She looked a little like Patti Smith. I met her on the street around 11pm on a Wednesday night in Williamsburg. She was the connectivity cap to my day alone in this dazzling new world. I walked past her, but boldly called her back a few steps after to compliment her jumper. I hadn’t found the easy slice of cheese I’d gone looking for an hour earlier, and the cramp of my residual drunk sought some shifting. It was a floral and loose-strapped jumper that she wore. She was probably 60 or 65 years old with worn eyes and a wrinkled face. She was compelled by my compliment; I was interested in what we might talk about. We stood on the sidewalk for over an hour, discussing her career as a criminal journalist in New York City. We stood close and caring as she shared some of the most difficult cases and instances of power superseding justice that she had witnessed and exposed, and how these terribly frustrating experiences eventually led her to quit journalism. She was keen to my demeanor, my reactions to her stories, and my strong interest in her magnificent and messy life. I felt her love and big sorrow through these stories, these transparent emotions chained to her, heavy and unpredictable. Even in this hour with a stranger, we became close.

She washed away my Brooklyn shock with spells of admiration for me, an insecure 26-year-old from Brooklyn’s slower-moving, Midwestern cousin, Wicker Park. “That’s wonderful…”, “That’s it!”, “You’ve got it. You’re what people miss in this town.” She looked at me deep in the eyes and told me that my depth of thought and careful pace had immense value here in Brooklyn. Her advice was specific, simple, and poignant. It went something like this: “Whatever you do here, you have to give it your all. You have to show up, you have to not be late because someone else will take your spot in a blink. You have to give it everything, whatever it is that you want to do. You have to know what you want — but once you do, you gotta come back here and get it.”

Read the rest in your own copy of Sheriff Nottingham Vol. 2 Iss. 1