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Floor 21, Room 201

“It’s the top floor,” dad says, “imagine walking groceries up that?” “It hurts to try.” I cringe. The New York City air had its own welcome to me, with biting chills and offensive traffic, as well as having me question the stability of the elevator. I was burning with questions, and burning with too much anxiety to ask any them. I follow my future step­family to the door of their apartment, and at first glance, I am tackled by Chinatown. Gracious glasses in small framed spaces, the welcoming kotatsu, and a breathtaking view of the Brooklyn Bridge. My eyes could feel height of the balcony. What could be better that this? I thought. I was there only three nights, and never again.

Floor 21, Room 201

“It’s the top floor,” dad says, “imagine walking groceries up that?” “It hurts to try.” I cringe. The New York City air had its own...