in new york you can be a new womyn

because i’m obsessed with place, at some point i had to dwell on new york. if anything, it’s romantic of me: bagels, snowy boots by the door, the morning walk in brooklyn last year that made me think i could be a new yorker, bagels. it’s just, today a breeze picked up and the temperature fell below 70 and briefly when i shivered i thought about weather being a bit like personality and grit. it’s weird that la is always so perfect, it frightens me. it’s just that yesterday i drove by a storage center that was a tragically beautiful and once grand building. angelenos don’t care. it’s that i talked to a person i miss and she said there’s a room in her place in brooklyn that i can afford and that feels like an offer i can’t refuse and it’s that i miss proximity and i am a writer and a misfit and it’s that the los angeles times really really sucks.

so then i went ahead and read a piece by joan didion reflecting on how she fell in love with new york then out of love with new york, and now she’s in la. i do not buy it, that she is happier here. it is not a convincing tale. it a love letter to new york that is also a goodbye that makes me think of the trite “it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved it all” and so i guess i will go to new york for just a little while, give it a go because la makes me feel calm like before a tsunami or a shot, a slow motion peace that could never last for more than a moment but kind of does like a halflife.

i think i put too much weight into where i am. i think i need to live for the now more than the next adventure. but i know la, i feel like i know this city so well. and i do love it, it’s just there’s this restless in me and maybe it’s always been there, this time to go, time to go, time to go ticking and tocking, like i’m always waiting for the next plane and have to seize every open seat. this might not be the way to live forever, but it’s okay, for now i’m a mover. i go places. but i will miss getting sunburned in february.

Quite simply, I was in love with New York. I do not mean “love” in any colloquial way, I mean that I was in love with the city, the way you love the first person who ever touches you and you never love anyone quite that way again. I remember walking across Sixty-second Street one twilight that first spring, or the second spring, they were all alike for a while. I was late to meet someone but I stopped at Lexington Avenue and bought a peach and stood on the corner eating it and knew that I had come out out of the West and reached the mirage. I could taste the peach and feel the soft air blowing from a subway grating on my legs and I could smell lilac and garbage and expensive perfume and I knew that it would cost something sooner or later – because I did not belong there, did not come from there – but when you are twenty-two or twenty-three, you figure that later you will have a high emotional balance, and be able to pay whatever it costs. I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.


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