on my last days in new york city
It wasn’t really until my cat, who had been locked in M’s room while moving out, was let out and she ran into my now empty former bedroom, confused, that I had trouble. She ran in circles, tail puffed out, crying, and rolled around on the floor and rubbed up against the walls. It was adorable and bittersweet all at once. We think about ourselves, leaving places behind, having memories of certain locations, but I know Lola does too. She might not miss it in the same way, but she knows it was her home.
It’s never easy uprooting and changing a life. I’m having more trouble this time than when I left Southern California. I think because that always felt transitional, because of school. But this was grown up life, and it’s hard. I think it’ll continue to be hard, too. It’ll be okay. I know this. It was a really hard decision but I have no reason to believe that it isn’t the right one. It will be hard and challenging and maybe lonely at times and certainly an adjustment. But there’s nothing wrong with that.
I will miss New York. A lot. I’ll miss the ease (mostly) of transportation. I’ll miss the variety of food. Indian, thai, greek, ethiopian, anything. Walking everywhere. Central Park. Those rare frustrating trips to Times Square. Late nights in the city that never sleeps. Last minute meeting for drinks. Spring in the city. Being one of millions. Garbage trucks breaking glass before dawn. Not waiting for the cross walk sign to change. Softball in Central Park. Helado on the street corner. Bundling up in the winter. The sound our heater makes, like someone is inside and knocking to get out. Miles and miles, out and up, of apartments. Broadway. Reading on the subway. Those casual subway glances when you know you’re both thinking the same thing. Grocery shopping. Cheap wine. $13 cocktails. Battery Park where you feel like you’re at the edge of the world. An umbrella always in my purse. Running for a bus. Cheap mani-pedis. Everything you’d ever need practically in a 10-block radius. Living in the greatest city on earth.
Those are superficial, for the most part. Easy to miss. Hard to let go. If you’ve never lived in NYC you wouldn’t understand. Visiting isn’t the same as living there, not by a long shot. I know I had more years left in me there. That’s hard to live with, I think. That can’t really be replicated, though I wish it could be.
The other week I had just the perfect NYC evening. M and I met friends for a drink in this tiny wine bar in the west village. We decided the night couldn’t be over yet, so we took a walk. Got a slice of pizza at Joe’s. I wanted ice cream and my favorite place was around the corner, so I got one last trip and devoured a Salty Pimp at the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop. We stopped at this bar that has a piano player fingering out showtunes. M and I took the subway, without transfers, home. It was that great almost spring temperature. It was dry and clear. It was simply perfect. Yes, I will miss nights like this. Absolutely.
Most of all I will miss my friends. Mostly my roommate M who became much more of a friend than just a roommate. It’s hard to leave someone behind who you count on seeing every day, who you cook with, talk with, everything. How much harder will it be when I have to cook for only one? I’ve never lived alone; I hope I don’t hate it.
My last weeks in New York were filled with a last eager effort to do all the things. Three Broadway shows, all of which were amazing. I might not have seen them all so soon otherwise. Food and drinks at my favorite places. Friends and work colleagues for a congratulatory send off. All these things made me happy, so happy, yet each had such a bittersweet edge to them, as they are also a lot of ‘lasts’. Maybe not last forever but certainly last for now.
It’s hard. It won’t immediately get easy. New York City is a city that gets under the skin, under your fingernails, in the blood stream. It became a part of me, and I won’t be the same ever again as I was before I lived there. I also don’t think I’ll ever stop missing it. NYC isn’t a place easily forgotten.