Last night I moved to New York for the first time, again. I saw the city when I landed, and I could feel the anxiety trying to creep in, but I swatted it out like an unwanted insect. I never liked squashing bugs. I always squealed and asked my dad to do it; but now I'm grown up, and it's time to squash the fuckers myself. So inside I just yelled at the top of my lungs, You are not wanted here. I am too smart and loving and beautiful and valuable to allow you inside my heart and mind anymore.
I'm moving to new York for the first time, again. Except this time it feels like home. I see the city skyline blur outside the cab window, and I'm shocked when I feel a genuine relief settle over me. I have no idea where it came from, like a blanket I never expected. Before I left the South I dreaded my return to the city. I feared the loneliness it would impose upon me, and the new life I would now have to create for myself. I feared the city because I feared myself.
But then shortly before midnight I closed the car door behind me in Harlem, and the cabbie helped me with my bags. He bid me good night, I hauled my luggage to my stoop, and I paused to look down my street. A woman carried her daughter into the front door of their brownstone. A car was stopped in the middle of 118th street, and a man was getting out of the passenger side while he talked to the driver. Holiday lights still painted sparkling strokes on stoops and windowsills. On first avenue, sirens blared as fire trucks followed ambulances that followed NYPD cars. Tears welled in my eyes when I saw her, curled up on the sidewalk in front of my apartment.
I found her lying there in Harlem, bruised and exhausted, but with dancing eyes. I picked her up and carried her myself to a safe and warm place. Her body was limp in my arms and she mumbled something about how she couldn't feel her hands and her legs were aching. I carried her inside and gave her some water and tucked her in. I watched as she pulled the blankets up around her face and sighed relief from every pore. I cried, because I knew I had brought her home at last. Now she is home. I am home. I am home, in the tautological sense.
My heart is my home. Now it's back with its rightful owner, and he will never see it again. I have probably not cried my last tear for him, but all the tears from here on out will be pulling double duty as tears of happiness for my arrival back unto myself. New York was annoying me because I lost myself on her streets and I was fighting and blaming the city for stealing me. Then I moved to New York for the first time again, and just like that, I found myself there.
I am and have always been my home. The sweetness prevails, inside of me. Come inside; it's warm, and I have cookies. We will watch the snow fall on New York, and we will make up words and we will cuddle under blankets and we will laugh.
I am just where I'm meant to be, and where I have always been. Except now, it's for the first time. Again.
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