I cannot lie-leaving New York was more difficult than I expected. Having been on the road so long, the distinct memories of the city I love had softened. Had we gone from Las Vegas straight to Sydney-somehow it would have been easier-my memories wouldn’t have the same crispness they do now. I know the tincture of time will soften their edges again soon, but at this moment-as I write from an LA hotel room and look into the future of a life down under the planet-the memories of the town that gave me more than my heart can hold are sharp enough to poke me in the ribs every time I move too quickly.
Our recent time in New York was surreal, lovely, rushed, harried, frustrating, wonderful and other adjectives as well. Each day I experienced a new emotion and its complete opposite at the same time.
I can’t believe we’re leaving, I can’t wait to go.
I can’t have coffee with one more person, I want to have coffee with as many people as possible.
I can’t go to shake shack one more time, I need to go to shake shack one more time.
I told my husband I felt a similar sense of dissatisfaction when our beloved land lady, Deborah, passed away.
Maybe some dinner will make me feel better. No.
Maybe a cup of tea is what I need. Not quite.
A champagne toast might help? No, that didn’t do it either.
Time does it every time.
We were in town for almost five weeks-enough time to feel like we needed to move back or pack it up already. A good friend asked, “How does it feel to be a visitor in your own life?”
The night before we left, we had dinner with our son’s God family. His Godmother and I held hands in the back of the cab like two twelve-year-old girls in a Jane Austen novel about to be wrenched away from each other. We’d be forced to grow up on our own-she at Pemberly and me in a colony in the antipodes. I hadn’t felt that way since I left home to go to college. The funny thing about life is the desire to keep those kinds of bizarre and epic feelings at bay, to not experience those grand emotions if we don’t need to.
But, here we are a day later in an adorable hotel in LA, of all places. We’ve reconnected with old friends we had a difficult time saying goodbye to once as well. While my heart still hurts for our life in New York, the home where I spent all my adult life, once I pushed through all those feelings and fears and actually left-I found a new feeling waiting for me. I found a glimmer of excitement and possibility that makes me think of a famous quote from Helen Keller-
When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
How lucky to be old enough now to know better than to stare at closed doors.