Since 2008 I have called New York my home. I’ve now had two separate lives here, with a hiatus of several months in between. The first four years were rather markedly different from the last. I stepped away from my former full time job and slipped into a different sort of life, writing full time and working odd jobs as a waiter, a model, a painter, a tarot reader.
My friends have changed in the last four years as well, as some left the city and others joined my circle. I have changed. Oddly, I have become more fearful, though I feel I’ve faced down so many challenges in the last five years, not at all the least of which being the loss of my sister Erika. This September will mark half a decade since she departed from us and it is hard to believe. So much has happened, and yet here I sit in this little apartment which I’ve now occupied for just over three years.
Funny, I’ve come so very close to the things I’ve desired, but did I ever break the skin of those dreams, or just rub up against them?
No matter. It’s strange how things have changed, but it isn’t sad. As Joni says, something’s lost, but something’s gained in living every day.
Four years ago, I was doing a different version of this same dance, though I was more distracted with goodbyes then. This time I’m taking things a little easier, trying to be more incremental than before. Selling off beloved items to new homes and packing up books and clothes. Luckily, I purged not so long ago and so there was not so much to get rid of as the last time, and no romantic intrigues to distract me from my task.
I think about all I once dreamed of doing in this city, and how it has been open to me in some ways and closed in others. I dream of other cities and other ways of living, now that I’ve had my fill of this one.
As a strange omen for my upcoming travels, I’ve recently discovered two dead mice in my apartment: one was stuck in my box fan and when I shook it out, he was just a hollowed husk. The other I found last night as I thought of inspecting a mouse trap (no kill) I hadn’t set lately. Inside was a dead mouse, already starting to smell, so who knows how long he was in there. I threw out the trap, mouse and all, and I hope no more grisly surprises await me.
I’m ready to say goodbye to New York, a place I have loved. A place I could almost call home forever. Perhaps I will realize I can’t live without it once I’m gone, but without the promise or potential of love to lure me back, I very seriously doubt it!
I am ready to enter a different phase of life. I’ve just got to follow this tide as it drifts.
My plan for the trip is remarkably similar to the trip I took to Burning Man in 2012, the year after Erika died there: I’ll drive to Arkansas (this time via Ohio instead of North Carolina) and from there up to Minneapolis and over to Seattle.
In fact, I’ve taken so long to finish this post that I am already in Arkansas, having moved my things out and said goodbye to the city. I feel surprisingly unemotional about it, but that could be a side effect of my constant motion of late.
I had a nice stop with my friends the Ziegenhagens in Ohio and made my way through several states to get home to Arkansas. In a couple of days, I’ll head north and west to find out what life has next in store for me.
Love and miss,