At this point in Strip, Sward is not yet a drug addict (Self knows that’s coming, though), so what’s here is merely angst: the angst of longing.
It reminds her of the angst of Detective Yuichiro Goda in Lady Joker, volume two (Apparently, no one on Goodreads seems as taken with Detective Goda as self, only referring tangentially to “outside characters” — ! His epiphany at the end! Goda made that book! She didn’t give a damn about any of the other characters!)
My whole life was nothing more than a kind of waiting. Waiting for my mom to come home, even though she never did. She’d sent me a package when I was five, and I’d waited for more. I waited for her letters where she would describe her world in detail, especially the different men in her life. I also waited for my dad — when he went to India to hang out with a swami, or the writers’ colonies in upstate New York and New Hampshire. Then there was the time he went to live alone at an art colony in New Mexico. Then Alina left and I watched him wait for her to come home and I waited for him to stop waiting. I waited for this terrible longing in me to go away, and I knew no one was coming back to fix it.
My grant was running out. I became a regular at the gyro stands, went to matinee movies, and walked the streets some more. I looked at women dressed like Audrey Hepburn who sat at the cafés drinking coffee, and I looked at people who passed me in the streets who seemed like they knew exactly where they were going and who they were.— Strip, A Memoir, p. 63