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Honey, now that your shackles are gone

And you’re out there on your own

Won’t you let me know

If things get hard?

Even though New York City looked exactly as she’d expected from above, it was a very different scenario down below. She’d been there for about a week and was quickly getting used to big-city life, but she wasn’t yet accustomed to the smell. She hoped that if you lived here long enough, you’d develop the ability to ignore it.

Today was Saturday, her first real weekend, and she was treating herself to some exploration. She’d woken up bright and early in order to find breakfast, and she wasn’t disappointed. Now she was just wandering, trying her hardest to look confident and collected. 

Honey, now that your shackle’s been lifted

You’re a sweet young thing, and you’re oh, so, gifted

Will you let me know

If things turn bad?

She still couldn’t quite believe where she was. Truth be told, she wouldn’t be there at all if things hadn’t gotten so awkward on the Rampion after Wolf and Scarlet went back to Rieux. Or if she and Thorne hadn’t realized their relationship wasn’t going to work. 

“It just feels weird,” she’d said, when they finally stopped tiptoeing around each other and actually sat down to talk. “There’s something weird about it, right?”

Thorne had nodded. “Yeah. And I know it’s there because I haven’t been able to ignore it either.”

I wasn’t looking for trouble, but trouble came

I wasn’t looking to change, I’ll never be the same

But life’s not what you make it baby

They sat in silence for a while before they eventually came up with a plan: take a solid break but remain friends while Cress took some time to create her own path down on Earth. 

“You’re really talented,” Thorne had said, “not to mention famous. People are going to want to hire you, so job-hunting or home-finding shouldn’t be a huge problem. I think you’ll be fine, and if you ever aren’t, let me know and I’ll come and visit.”

Send me a postcard

When you get to where you’re going

Send me a line

To everything you left behind

“You’ll keep me updated, right?” he’d said as they reached the city. “Let me know that you’re doing okay? Or if you need anything.”

“Of course!! I’ll send you a postcard. If they still exist.”

Thorne had furrowed his brows. “What?”

“A postcard! You know. It’s basically a piece of thick paper with a picture of the place its from, but you can write on the back and send it to someone. I hope they still exist. I promise I will send you some if they do.”

Honey, now that I’ve found my way

And I miss you more than I can say

Won’t you promise to

Say a prayer for me?

So far, things had been working out okay. She hadn’t had to contact Thorne since she got here, she had a great new programming job, a decent apartment and a decent roommate, all in the famed New York City. When she put it all together, it sounded like the premise of one of those second-era sitcoms. 

Honey, now that morning’s come

We’re both still out on the run

Won’t you let me know

If you feel free?

She hadn’t found a postcard to send him yet, but she hadn’t had much time to look around. Maybe she’d find one today, now that she was settled in. Maybe it would say “wish you were here!” in big curly letters, with a picture of the skyline. 

She didn’t exactly wish he was there, but she did miss him. 

We were looking to mend it but we tore it apart

And I went and broke my own goddamned heart

See, life’s not what you make it baby

The little storefront she walked into was old, old enough that she could be surprised it hadn’t been knocked down during World War IV. Everything inside, in one way or another, had the symbols “I ❤️ NY”. 

It was perfect.

Send me a postcard

When you get to where you’re going

Send me a line

To everything you’ve left behind

“Do you need help finding anything, miss?”

Cress jumped. She hadn’t seen the manager at the desk. She was still flustered when most Earthens talked to her; the majority of human contact she’d had had been in dire contexts, and even then she’d mostly been interacting with other Lunars. 

The fact that she could walk around without Earthens suspecting her, or even recognizing her for her part in the Lunar Rebellion… it made her feel ordinary, and good. 

I was just a kid when I fell for you 

I’m not much older now but even then I knew

That the road was steep

And full of strife

“I’m all right, ma’am, thank you,” she replied.

The manager nodded and looked back down at her work. 

Cress surveyed the store. She knew she looked like a tourist, but she didn’t care. Even though every item in that shop had the same corny thing on it, she couldn’t help but want all of them.

Then it caught her eye: a shelf of thin pieces of cardboard, the New York City scenery laid out with the words “wish you were here!”

I never knew what to say 

Could never get it right

And I’m alone again at the end of the night

But life’s not what you make it baby

Gingerly, Cress picked one off of the stack and looked at it in the light. It was exactly what she had wished for. 

When she finally paid, after grabbing a tie-die t-shirt for herself, the postcard was sitting on top.

The manager smiled as she ran the items. “Boyfriend back home, hon?”

Cress shook her head. “Just a good friend. I promised I’d keep him in the loop.”

Send me a postcard

When you get to where you’re going

Send me a line

To everything you left behind

Dear Carswell,

How are you? I am fine. New York is nice and I think I’m really settling in. Hope everything is going well with the antidote shipments.

All my love, Cress