This past weekend, a bunch of my favorite ladies gathered in the Hudson Valley for our dear friend Kate’s bachelorette party. It was an amazing weekend. There were so many magnums of Cristal poured over so many male strippers’ chests…if by “magnums of Cristal” you mean bottles of pinot noir, and if by “over male strippers’ chests” you mean into plastic wine glasses.
I arrived in New York Thursday afternoon, once again feeling that big city’s powerful pull. I spent so much time in New York feeling like I’d never get the hang of it (and I’m not sure anyone ever really does), but I stepped right back into the city’s rhythm as though I’d only been away for a short vacation.
My friend Kirsten graciously hosted me in her Brooklyn apartment that night, and we ran errands and grabbed a beer at one of our old haunts, catching up on friends and cooking up ideas for her web series. It was balm for my soul in a way I very much needed. The next day I headed into Manhattan for lunch with the old coworkers, who were as fun and kind and lovely as always. As I walked towards the PATH train – our weekend rental car was in Jersey City – the bubble of excitement began to build. I indulged in some mental bashing of New Jersey for old time’s sake and counted down the train stops left until I’d get to see my friends.
Sooner than I hoped, we were hugging and petting each other, saying how pretty everyone looked and all indulging in a little New Jersey bashing for old time’s sake.
One ridiculous traffic jam and a few Taylor Swift songs later, we were finally on the road. It took me about 1.5 songs before I began asking prying questions about one friend’s new boyfriend (the answers melted us all). These women were my world in New York. Even though we didn’t spend our childhoods together, we grew up together, learning to be independent and how to make the right kinds of mistakes.
We spent countless hours getting ready together, hailing cabs, walking too far in too-high heels, and eating late-night pizza. Or staying in with cheap bottles of wine and watching Face Off, containers of Thai food stacked on the coffee table as we curled into the comfort of each other’s warmth on the couch.
And then, one by one, a few of us decided that our New York days were over, and we moved onto new adventures. It’s a strange thing to leave your home and all these people who made it not just bearable but wonderful. When we all get together, I tend to weird people out by saying things like, “I just can’t stop looking at your FACE!” But I tell myself we all feel that way, which is why everyone makes the effort to come to Colorado for a birthday, or return to New York for a bachelorette party. We had a great life, and that magic returns when we have Jenny’s beer dip, hear the story of Kate and Andy’s first date, have a dance party, and make fun of each other and ourselves, just as intoxicated by each other as we are by the wine.
Monday morning, the last of us boarded trains or drove to the city (or back to Boston for one…and to you, lovely lady, a reluctant congratulations on the football game). With a few hours to kill before heading to the airport, I got a bagel sandwich and walked around Park Slope, drinking in the delicious familiarity of it all.
New York feels like home in a way that Denver may never – in Colorado I drive a car, changing radio stations and following the flow of traffic. I steal glances at the mountains, and I tend to see just the city’s outline. I’d be hard-pressed to color in the details. But in Brooklyn, my feet helped to smooth the paving stones as I walked the mile or two from my place to Kate and Jenny’s, searched for picnicking friends in Prospect Park, or coveted the cookies in the Italian bakery below Kate’s place (we like to double up names in our group).
I love my life in Colorado, and my friends here are amazing, too. But for just this weekend, it was healing and refreshing to swim in our old life for a few days. We’ll all see each other again soon for Kate and Andy’s wedding, where we’ll raise our glasses to two of the best people we know, wishing them many more adventures ahead. I know they’ll have plenty. And we’ll all be there to celebrate each of their triumphs – just like they do for us.
My cup is full.