Walking through the Rockefeller center and financial district, with pink cheeks bitten by the cold. Hair and shoulders wrapped in a scarf- and each step taken with determination and purpose.
This was the New York in my younger mind, the New York I prayed for when I submitted my early decision application to NYU Stern three years ago. When I visited over Manhattan for the second time this summer, this rampant fancy of my past days became something more subtle yet more solid. I walked through the Columbia campus with my best friend from high school who had just transferred to the university; I was in her current reality, seeing myself in the corner of my eye, walking by with notebooks in hand and plaid skirt on hips. Movies at Times Square at midnight. Churches in the rain. Nights in the dorms and waking up to a beautiful view of West?? Manhattan just outside Neta’s window, and thus starting my day with an exuberant smile.
And there was someone there too, solid filling in an imagined silhouette. Love is always the highlight. I grew up dreaming of romance, the most novel of romance, romance like in the fairytales. And he fit there too, welcoming me along the rest of the city, as if the moment I stepped off the plane, out of the taxi, everything fell into perfect place without hesitation.
One morning, walking from 120th street to 104th street for a yoga class, and I could really entertain the hope of this becoming a routine part of my every Monday to come.
All the details, I could see as clearly as if it were my reality.
This handful of days, every element just as I had wished and savored. All these details, I could see as clearly as if they were my reality.
Airports used to be simultaneously my most and least favorite place. They were my favorite when I was departing into an adventure, my least favorite when I was returning. I always travel with the notion of impermanence in my head, allowing every beauty to touch me only with the knowledge of it’s abiding. When I was younger, it was cycles of this, crying on airline return flights from destinations all around the world.
It’s kind of different now. I’ve learned how to plant memories into my soul; goodbye is a strong notion. The four day trip to New York ended quickly and the beginning of my junior year at college was just around the corner. Touching down on the plane, back to California, I see that over the years I’ve built a solid affinity for the open landscapes, cabin trips in the winter and hikes amongst towering redwood forests, endless cruising through scenic highways. A love affair with tiled rooftops at night amongst my old silent suburban street. An acceptance finally that the city lights that I had wished for my future would not be a part of my current past, but always dangling in front of me, daunting and teasing. There is always that element in one’s life, an element of eternal year
Yet if I fall back completely, letting my closed eyes sink all the way back into my skull, it is not these skyscrapers and numbered avenues that I fall into. I fall back amongst a blanket of desert stars, people who grew to love me wholesomely although I never asked, laughter uncountable and peace like rolling ocean waves, all these a precious ode to each piece of the Bay and Los Angeles that I’ve explored and made memories in.
I follow where my fate takes me but grow up to fall in total love with all the places in between.
Thanks for reading and until next time!