31 Oct 2018 Every day more.
Halloween was a Friday in 2003. Fifteen years. I’d been driving all week, my tiny vehicle crammed with boxes, sharp corners wedged into curves. I could barely close the trunk, and my seat was rammed so far forward that I hunched the steering wheel nearly 3,000 miles, several time zones and a dozen states. I could *almost* see out the tiny, plastic back window. It seemed ill-advised to arrive in NYC on a drunken-dark Friday Halloween night. So I didn’t. I went to Chicago instead.
The day before Halloween 2003, fifteen years ago, I left I-80, veering north to my old home and parked my car outside my old apartment on Winona. I got out, and stood so long in place that the neighbors were getting wary. I was feeling ghosts. Past selves moving through. And it was weird. Good, but weird. A feeling of transparency, intersection and space. Passage. I stood very still and observed.
And then I moved on. I’d taken enough of a detour to delay my arrival in New York, and communed with my ghosts enough to move forward into the unknown. The thing is: I had to beat the movers.
I’d spent October betwixt and between. I landed at JFK a month before, my tiny, perturbed cat Lucy in tow, and parked myself in a new ‘these-strangers-are-now-your-roommates’ situation in the east village. I slept on an air mattress that went flat to hardwood by morning (thanks Lucy). There was a new job, a reading, a steep learning curve (what *was* an “Astor Place”?), and then back to San Francisco to go to a wedding and fetch my things. I’d never used movers before, but I couldn’t do it myself and I didn’t know anyone in New York (at least, not well enough to ask them to help me move…). They were efficient. And professional. And I watched them leave San Francisco on Monday morning knowing I had to meet them at the other end. So I set my apartment keys on the counter, took a long last look at the apartment I’d spent eight years of my life in, breathed in the walls, the changes, the passages. The ghosts. Then I headed out.
November 1st 2003, a Saturday morning fifteen years ago, I arrived, finally and fully, in New York. The goal was to get here before I hit 35, and I did it. With seven days to spare, I made it home. There are bumps and bruises, of course, and home ain’t always pretty. There are times I want – need – to get away. There are ghosts here too.
But tomorrow is my 15th anniversary in NYC. Use the maths and you’ll know I have eight days till my 50th birthday. I have never lived longer in any one place save where I grew up, and I have never loved a city more. Every day more. Bumps, scratches, bruises and ghosts, and the most remarkable, glorious, bewitching ride I’ve ever been on. Every day more.