Friday, November 3, 2006

Twenty-six Was Going To Be Wonderful

I’m leaving the city. Just for a spell. I need an undefined number of days (months if I had it my way) to see the last colored leaves cling to their branches, to look out at an ocean that I rarely see (except when I’m flying ‘coach’ class), to breath and not smell ambition and trash.
This year has been hard. New York is hard. You think that if you stay in the city just a little bit longer, you’ll crack the code. So I’ve stayed and I’ve stayed and I haven’t taken trips, like the smart people, to warmer climates, to undiscovered pockets of pristine countries. I haven’t even seen my beautiful niece. She’s turning into a little person, wearing cowboy hats, eating avocadoes—I’ve missed all that. Instead, I’ve sat at my small kitchen table, stared through the burglar bars on my window and tried to write a book. There have been too many dinners out and emotions kept in. I walk the same path to Union Square and back and forget about Carnegie Hill, the Boat Basin and museums where I can lose myself and the minutiae that crowd my everyday thoughts. I’ve forgotten the rest of the world.
The ‘even’ years have always been good to me. Age 22, 24… and then, age 26 came along. My grandfather died. It was the first month of the year. I should have just given up then, crawled into bed and slept for eleven months. Maybe I could have asked my sweet mother to wake me up with a bowl of black-eyed peas (good luck down South) on New Year’s Day, 2007. But, of course, I didn’t do that. My grandfather was dead and I tried to compress my sadness—the black hole, the grief, the despondency—into a week of ceremonies and dinners. I nodded my head and smiled and everyone was really very lovely. I was cured. Twenty-six was going to be wonderful.
Ah, yes, but I had forgotten that the promise of Pappy (my grandfather) carried me through so many of my New York days. He was my fairytale, the guarantee that all was well, the assurance that men—or even just people—like him existed. And then he died and the dream went along with him.
I’ll be back soon, fresh and new and with a little faith restored (let’s hope so, anyway)… 

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