My big behind is perched atop a rickety chair in a hippie coffee shop in somewhere, Brooklyn. The scarred walls, garage sale chairs, and the unbelievable view of the JMZ line, Family Dollar, a host of shuttered store fronts is not what I anticipated, but I’m writing here anyway, and praying I don’t tumble off this chair in front of God and all these white people.
I cried when I left my elegant apartment in Holyoke, a city I came to love fiercely. My best friend, there in open-toed sandals and a pretty dress, stayed until she could hear the rumble of the U-Haul engine and saw my caravan–a truck, minivan, and car–start its journey in her rearview mirror. I cried as we promised to meet for tea in polished hotels. It wouldn’t be the same, though; I’d take her mismatching collection of tea cups and her sunny apartment any day.
After the boxes were put away, and plans for the new kitchen drawn up, I left my beautiful apartment on Long Island and tripped into Brooklyn to spend time with a curator and friend from Western Mass. There, I stumbled upon the “Love Letter to Brooklyn” mural: “you were nurtured here” it stated. “I am made to leave, I am made to return.”
I handily dealt with public transportation and the advances of undesirable men as though I never left. I ate substandard tiramisu and missed Johnny’s Tavern; slipped into coffee shops knowing I could never find another to replace Amherst Coffee, and had cups of chai alone. I went to the Kara Walker exhibit and watched couples kiss in front of the Mammy’s naked behind.
In Williamsburg, I drank IPAs out of mason jars in front of a sign that said: “Spread Love, It’s the Brooklyn Way”, and tried not to look like a hipster. I stopped in the middle of the street when I heard Biggie’s “Warning” blasting from an Exhibition, as though it was 1998 all over again.
On a Saturday night, I rocked too-high heels and a dress long enough to wear around relatives, but short enough to make men believe their wishes could come true. I shared shots with new friends in the V.I.P. section of a crowded lounge. I barely avoided the Bridge and Tunnel crew–loud men with well-waxed eyebrows and women with orange skin and thick bodies stuffed into last months’ styles. (They still believe they run the city.) I kept a bouncer company, and did the most terrible shoulder shimmy I could muster up. He raised one eyebrow and asked, “Is that your twerk?” I spent days wishing for a tea with Ya., and nights missing the sexy Marine I met right before I left Western Mass.
I love NY, which is the perfect backdrop for my new adventures. Here, I have the courage to face the future and fight for what I want. In NY, I am reminded of the fullness of my power.
I miss everywhere I’ve been, but I know I am where I’m supposed to be. I’m ready for this. So ready.