I came back to Brooklyn Tuesday night and it’s been terrible. So terrible, in fact, that even as I type this I feel unsure I’ll ever write anything worth reading again. My life force is as drained as I’d feared it would be when I left the wilds of Truro for the metagrid that is New York City–so drained, in fact, that I can’t spare any energy to dress up this fact.
Most of the drive was fine. Once Grace accepted we really were going to leave the place that felt more like home than our home, she capitulated completely and walked into her carrier herself, barely mewed as we drove through Cape Cod foliage and more and more buildings blocked the horizon. Our mutual silence loomed.
Everything was lovely in a melancholy sort of way until the NYC skyline crept back into view. Then it took 90 minutes to drive the 11 miles from the TriBoro Bridge to Williamsburg. There was an accident nearly every mile, roadwork blocking every alternative route, and as I gnashed my teeth I wondered if I’d manifested the clusterfuck or simply lost my immunity to it. I’d left with plenty of time to enter the city in daylight, but by the time I realized Queens’ Grand Avenue Bridge was closed, blocking even the alternate to my alternate-alternate route, the sun had dropped. I drove part of the last two miles on a sidewalk, and entered a dark Williamsburg, Grace and I both yowling, our bladders burning, as we slid into a parking space it took 20 minutes to find.
I’m simply not the type to ask anyone to help me unload my possessions and, confession, even if I were, I’m not sure who I could have asked that night. My back hurt for the first time in three months, and I cursed as I conveyed bag after bag up to my third floor walk-up apartment. When I came down to the stoop to fetch the last of it, I saw someone had swiped my wine. And I sat down on the curb and bawled.
That morning, as I’d been packing my car, I’d suddenly been seized with an urge to properly bid everything goodbye–the long leafy dirt road, the trees around the house, the chipmunks and the rabbits, the sea. Without thinking, I’d left the car flung open–doors, trunk, windows–and walked all the way to my favorite clearing, a space flanked by birch trees that I’d dubbed “the prayer circle.” There, I offered up my heart. At first it was numb. Then everything broke open and I cried and cried. And felt something widen within me that never widened in all my years in New York.
On the way back to the house, a couple in a big SUV pulled up and asked for directions, ignoring the big tears pouring down my cheeks.
I did not feel patient with them. I did not feel ready for the ugly disconnect of the human race.
I hugged my favorite tree and felt its energy beating like a heart inside my chest. I thanked the wind and the leaves and the sea, and then I put my best friend, this beautifully striped permakitten, into my car, and we drove away.