An old Jewish woman crosses 83rd Street, a brown bag shlumped over her weak shoulder.

A businessman, a grey-haired fox in a tailored suit, carries documents in a black leather briefcase.

A school teacher, frantic in her step, wears her purse cross-body, tightly pulling against her chest.  Unmarried and alone, she wonders if she will ever feel a baby sucking at her breast.

Horns are honking.

“I hate New York,” thinks Mary Ellen Polanksi, a struggling media artist crossing over from the other side of the street, her arm attached to the organic tote bag she purchased in Portland.

A fat man stumbles by, his groceries bouncing in a plastic supermarket bag.  Mary Ellen Polanski gives him a look of disgust, and blames him for the world’s global warming.

A young man with long black hair and no chin, leaves Starbucks, lugging his Timbuk2 laptop bag. He knows his novel will never sell.

An Indian woman, dressed in traditional garb, holds a mustard-colored handbag which contains a packet of gum, a vibrator she used earlier this morning, and a 9mm handgun.

I sit on a bench on 83rd Street with my knapsack at my side, an old friend now ragged from years of use.  Inside is a notebook, a sweater, a letter never sent, a key to a house in New Zealand, a book I’ll never read, and a photo of her.

We all carry our own unique baggage.