Friends! I’ve been absentee lately – the last month or two have been ridiculously fun. I went to a bachelorette party in the Poconos, my beautiful step-sister got married near Chicago, a co-worker’s daughter had her bat mitzvah, and OH YEAH, I got published in a literary magazine.
But today’s topic is my long-awaited, glorious return to New York City. Yes, kids, after a 20-month separation from my former home, I was able to tag along on a last-minute work trip to NYC.
During my first year in Colorado, I had an unfocused desire to return to New York, mostly to visit friends I missed with a constant ache. But there were other trips to take and new mountains to ski, and New York was a someday plan. Then, a few months ago, someone at work sent a link to a hotel, which happened to be a block and a half from my old office. I turned on Google street view and digitally walked down 26th street, which I’d done almost daily for six years. I thought about the $10 manicure place I’d sneak out to at lunch whenever I had a date or needed a pick-me-up. I navigated on the screen towards the Duane Reade pharmacy I’d wander around in search of snacks.
They were all pedestrian memories – literally – but it was like I could taste the flavor of my old life, and all I wanted was another slice. So when my boss asked if I wanted to go to New York, the spring of barely contained longing overflowed in tears. After a side eye and an incredulous “are you gonna cry?” I contained myself, and off we went.
By the time I left New York in 2012, I was capital D Done. The teeter-totter of adventures vs. frustrations had tipped, and those frustrations were almost all I could see. After building a restorative new life in Colorado, all I could see upon my return was home. The shck shck shck of the subway cars on the tracks, the feel of wearing humidity like a wetsuit, the smell of…all of the things, all at once, even sitting in Midtown traffic: I had a weird urge to roll down the cab windows and lick everything.
All I wanted was to feel like I lived there again, so I had lunch with a friend on the Highline and got $10 manis at the place on 26th, and then I headed to a friend’s in Brooklyn, where we ordered Indian food and watched the Tony awards. The next day I had coffee in Park Slope and headed into the city to visit the old office – we ate donut holes in the conference room and talked about their new babies and recent trips, and how nice the new carpet looked. I had the great pleasure of seeing these people, who had borne with me through moves and break-ups, being the first to learn about my mom’s cancer and helping to plan her African safari to celebrate her return to health, and telling them how incredibly happy I am now.
After a charming Upper West Side lunch with one friend, happy hour with another, dinner with two more of my favorites, and one last sleep in Brooklyn, we boarded our flight back to Denver. My soul felt refreshed, and my heart was full, both by those precious few hours in familiar surroundings (which had once felt so foreign and scary), and by the knowledge that the Rocky Mountains were waiting.
I’d ask somebody to pinch me, but I’d like to keep living this dream.