I was back in NYC this week and it was breaking my heart.
I’ve been so comfortable in my new Philadelphia suburban existence that I became a little complacent about my grieving process. I have been so enamoured with how easy life became when we left that I forgot that I lived in NYC for one reason, and one only: I loved it. That was why we stayed after COVID and why we never even considered leaving when I committed to full time remote work. I loved the city and the life I had built in it, and chose to stay.
So I came in Wednesday night on Amtrak to have dinner with a dear old friend. First though, we went to the Museum at FIT, one of my favorite random museums in the city for seeing the most couture outside of the Met exhibits. And we had dinner, and I hsd two glasses of wine, and then rolled myself “home” to the apartment I still own. And it was then, walking back the last few blocks from the Q, a walk I’ve done hundreds of times, that I really fell apart. While walking around Manhattan, I had been merely wistful for the years when I ran around Midtown after work, for a time when walking across the city was a commonplace part of my week. But coming back to Brooklyn, I longed for my old life living in Prospect Heights. I longed to go back to living in that apartment with an intensity that shocked me. It hit me, all over again, how very muculh I truly miss my life in Prospect Heights.
And then I couldn’t sleep Wednesday nighy and chose to sleep in Thursday morning and missed one of my last chances for a walk in Prospect Park on a gorgeous fall morning. I am deeply disappointed in those circumstances, but also slightly grateful. I almost didn’t go back out to Brooklyn to crash on Wednesday night because I knew this attachment would re-form, that I would arrive in the neighborhood I spent eight years in, and be reminded of how very much I loved it. A walk in the park yesterday morning would have been too much immersion in one of my favorite places and then I really wouldn’t have been able to leave.
I dragged myself out of the city yesterday instead, zoned out on pain from dental surgery, aimlessly wandering across Midtown again from Times Square to GCT. I walked through Bryant Park and past the library, down into Grand Central and it’s extravagantly beautiful ceiling. I got on a Metro North train and traveled to Poughkeepsie, and spent the night in a very weird AirBNB. Today, I traveled the last little bit of the way to Rhinebeck and to the Omega Center, which is where I am now, wrapping this blog post and waiting for Cheryl Strayed to come address an audience of several hundred white women as part of a “Wild Awakenings” writing workshop. And I’m trying not to long too much for the city….
…but when I walked across the Walkway Over The Hudson this morning, I looked south, and all I could think was, “at the end of this river, is New York City, and shouldn’t that have been enough?”