The days march, the apartment echoes, the tears well up. It’s my last week in Brooklyn, and I’m alternately excited and devastated. Saying goodbye is never easy, especially when it’s a place you feel so incredibly at home in.
I’m going to miss my friends, as are my boys. They’re off kilter this week, sickish from lack of sleep and change of seasons and fears of what the move means. They’re looking forward to the river and the RR tracks and the animals, but know they’re leaving friends behind, and wonder how often they’ll see them and what new friends they might find. They need some TLC, which I’m in short supply of myself. It’s a week to dig deep.
I’m afraid for some of the friends I’m leaving, the ones who don’t do email, are hard to track on the phone, and who are getting frailer by the week. I can’t take their health for granted, nor their longevity, and I won’t be here to see them change. I’ll have to rely on phonecalls and emailed notes from friends. I struggle with feeling I’m abandoning them, and yet they know I have to move on. It’s just more painful when you never know if they’ll be here the next time you come back.
Then there are the characters. The ones I’m used to seeing, and the ones that I stumble across. If you haven’t seen the collection of NYers being chronicled here, please go take a look. One glance at my FB feed and you’ll see I’m addicted. People are fabulous, all of them.
Amerigo here is one of my neighborhood joys, and though I know little about him, I do know that he’s from Italy, he walks the streets every day, and he’s passionate about many things. When he walks with you, every time he makes a point he stops in his tracks and savors the moment and the words, punctuating the thought with his hands. When it’s all sunk in, he starts walking again. Start, stop, savor, walk on. He’s a treasure, and I’ve never seen him without his hat, or his smile.
This is my city, my home for another few days, and a piece of my heart forever. I’m immensely glad for 9 years here, and thankful for the things I’ve seen, learned, tasted, and fought for. For the people I’ve met, the friends I’ve made, the pavement I’ve pounded. The dirt. The way the Brooklyn Bridge feels at sunset. The smell of the garbage heaps in the summer, reminding you that you live with millions. The pennies and old keys melted into the pavement. The way Carlos never quite smiles when he gives you your change, but you know he’s always going to be there. The sound of the bus kneeling at the corner.
The way the light comes in the front room in the morning. Eugene sleeping in his chair on the porch. Oscar bounding out of the window next door, coming out for his nightly hunt. The posture of the sleepers on the subway, slouched into chairs, curled into corners, wearing their exhaustion like a blanket. The 5-gallon-bucket drummers. The homeless man next to me on the bench, gently saying “miss, your train is here” when the A pulls up and my eyes are still closed.
Charles perched on the stoop ledge, resting a bit before he goes upstairs. The way the light hits the monument in FG Park in on late summer nights, and the crazy long shadows. Seeing Kizz and Eddie walking across the street. Holding hands with my gangly boys when they deign to walk alongside me. The tide of middleschoolers coming up the block at 3:00. Crates of live chickens in the middle of the sidewalk, thanks to Yom Kippur. The woman taking out her trash at midnight, wishing me up Lafayette on my way home from a late movie with a quiet “get home safe”.
These are just a few of my favorite things.