(Part Five in my series on my six years in New York)
Paris, yes. Just barely 24 hours, though.
Where are you staying?
I told him, my old friend. He’s a pro at Paris; is here often; he quickly reverted, like he does, with suggestions for things to do/eat/see.
I’m literally only here for tonight, though. Then to London. Jury still out on how I feel about that. But I’m in an “I love New York but I need a break” phase again (as is probably so obvious I don’t even need to say it).
I love New York — I love it the way a woman loves a lover she knows is a cad, a bounder. But every couple of years I ask whether I should leave for a while; take a break; see how things are somewhere else. During our last “seeing other people” phase, I spent some time in Washington. It was a failed affair — it taught me that one shouldn’t look to a past relationship to forge her future (I think that advice also came from a fortune cookie, later, and related to Frederic…I digress).
But I need to leave sometimes.
The Greek chorus of maybe you should leave New York grates on me, but also becomes a refrain woven into my own narrative. It nags; it vibrates against my eardrum.
Maybe I should leave. Paris is sort-of nice, this time around.
London wasn’t so bad during my last visit, either.
But then again, maybe it’s not so simple. Maybe New York was once a new lover, with all his new tricks and quirks and fancy moves…and now…real life has set in: he used to go to the gym; we used to go out; I pay all the bills.
How come you’re so lazy? Why don’t we do anything together anymore? How come you never take out the trash? Are you even listening to me??
It’s a hassle to pay city taxes; the constant snowstorms where the trash didn’t get picked up were more than a bother — prying mysterious frozen streetshit out of the dog’s mouth all winter was a health hazard for him and for me.
It has become like a marriage to a man who won’t change; to a man to whom I say, plaintively:
And he responds, looking up from the Yankee game:
‘Cause that’s not the way the world is, Baby. This is how I love you, baby.
I’ve been in this relationship before; I’ve been in it all my life — and indeed, I waited for New York all my life because it filled a certain part of me I couldn’t get anywhere else. And New York is home, and it’s comfortable, for those reasons.
But because that’s not the way the world is, I travel away from New York. I make friends who travel; I meet people on the road — personally, professionally. And we share our stories, and we weave our lives together; and we meet up in airports and on Twitter, and in person and in bits and bytes to chart this strange course.
Even then, there are spots that go untouched; things unfulfilled; there are open, gaping, raw and empty parts where the wanderlust seeps; where the yearning rushes out fast and furious sometimes — and even as I am wandering and lusting, I am somehow always looking to be loved for who I am, where I am.
Wherever that may be: New York. Or not.