|NYC is for Lovers|
I cried at wheels up on Delta Flight 1375. I knew I would. I warned Harriet, the Long Islander sitting next to me in 12E, that I would cry when the plane took off and she need not be alarmed. I cried because one of the best weeks of my life was at an undeniable and inevitable end, because I hate saying
goodbye see you soon to people I love, because I was leaving the place I feel I belong the most.
I should clarify; when I say "cried" I mean a few big silent tears rolled down my face while my bottom lip quivered and I stared out the window despondently. There was no sobbing or bawling or blubbering, and nothing about it was "uncontrollable".
My Sarah Lawrence week was spectacular. For the first two hours at SLC, I had to actively convince myself to not leave. Upon arrival at the Fleetwood train station I found no people nor cars nor cabs. I googled and called several Westchester cab companies, none of which knew where the Fleetwood station was. "Can you google it?" I asked one operator. "I can give you a number of another cab company," was my answer. I hung up the phone and said aloud "Well shit."
Eventually I got a cab when some nice-looking ladies told me to call Fleetwood Cab. I arrived at Sarah Lawrence approximately one hour after I exited the train. It's a 10 minute walk and a 3 minute drive to SLC from the Fleetwood station, I found out later.
|I don't know what building on campus this is, I just know it was not one I ever went into|
I checked in and went to my dorm, turned on the AC and stripped to my skivvies (technically "skivvies" are men's underwear. I was not wearing men's underwear but "skivvies" is sounds better than "underwear"), made the bed and laid on it, all the time thinking "What the hell am I doing here?!?!? WHY did I think this was a good idea?!?!?! I'm not brave, I can't do this. WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE!?!?!?!?" Believe me when I say that I used each and every one of those question and exclamation marks.
I forced myself to get dressed and go to orientation at three o'clock. As I walked through Resinger Lobby I picked up snippets of conversations that all seemed to include the phrase "my work has been published in" and I began to feel woefully inadequate. I stood against a wall and felt like a turtle retreating into its shell at the sight of a hawk. I was ready to head straight for the train and go back to Manhattan.
But I stayed. After the first two hours things got drastically better. I actually spoke to people and began to enjoy the experience and the newness of it. Everyone was encouraging and lovely. And then the fireflies came out and everything changed from terrifying to magical.
Over the week I made new friends. I gained confidence in my writing. I was told my book will get published and there will be a book tour to accompany it. I made some important connections at Sarah Lawrence that will be very helpful and useful in the next few years.
Possibly the most important thing to come out of the week is that I now have a life plan. The future is wide open.
Outside of Sarah Lawrence I had a few unforgettable Manhattan nights, both of which were largely thanks to Nick. I'll never forget the Thursday night I saw Cher in a nightclub with Bianca and Carly and we missed the last train back to Bronxville. Or the hour we spent in a diner on Lexington eating french toast until Grand Central opened at 5 a.m. Or sitting on the roof of Jane Hotel on a Saturday night, looking across the Hudson at Jersey and the super moon while discussing plans and possibilities with Nick.
|Chrysler Building at 5 am. The sky's getting light behind it|
Saturday came too soon. Bianca lives in Queens and she dropped me off at the airport. Before we left Bronxville, Bianca, Carly, and I stopped at Starbucks for breakfast. We sat outside in delayed silence until the time was about to expire on our parking meters. I bought a black & white cookie, the quintessential New York cookie, before I boarded Flight 1375. I ate it somewhere over Ohio while writing and listening to songs that reminded me of New York.