I can’t stop thinking about you. I am miserable when we are apart. I’m certain other passengers assume someone has died by the way I carry on at the airport when it’s time to say goodbye.
I look for you everywhere. Certain smells and sounds remind me of you. I catch glimpses of you in everything I see. I pore over pictures of you. I talk about you incessantly to anyone who will listen (or anyone I can hold captive long enough to drive crazy). I plot and plan and scheme for time with you.
I am happiest when I am with you. A calm comes over me. I am full of childlike wonder. I can’t stop smiling. I can’t explain the attraction…the connection. It’s organic. It’s distracting. It’s healthy.
You have introduced me to new sights and sounds and flavors and smells. You let me have my space, while always making sure I am never alone. You are so comfortable with everyone. Anyone. No prejudice. No bias. Just acceptance.
I love how you put on the perfect blend of white noise to help me sleep. The sounds of voices and wind and dogs, and the beautiful cacophony of horns and brakes and sirens.
I sit with you on the deck and gaze across at the 12-story apartment building that is filtered by an equally tall oak tree. I look beyond that to other buildings, and try to do math in my head… how many people live on this block alone? Thirty seconds of calculations and I’m distracted by the sound of a helicopter flying overhead, and another siren, and laughter from the deck below, and the smell of barbecue and cigarettes… and a bird flies by, and some children begin to play… What was I doing? Doesn’t even matter. I am happy in this moment.
I am attracted to every part of you. Your old, worn parts hold such history. Your shiny new stuff is fun to look at, but your age is what give you character…tells your stories. I love all of your moods. I am constantly amazed how, if I pay attention, I can watch you change from one to another.
Thank you for all of your gardens. Your flowers and sidewalks and trees. Your tunnels and bridges. Oh, the bridges! And have I mentioned your bricks? Your stones? Your arches? And your architecture! I can’t get enough of your lintels, cornices, pediments, pilasters, and turrets. The words alone are poetry to me. Your ornate metalwork makes me swoon. Your sense of style (particularly Gothic and Italianate) turns me on, and I’ve had to nurse many cricks in my neck from gazing up at building after building of sculptural facades.
I am with you now. Deliriously distracted and content. And as I stroll up the avenue, I catch a glimpse of something I recognize. Tall, and beautiful and unmistakable. Peeking at me from between the buildings is the Empire State Building. I am momentarily star-struck as I remember I am surrounded by fame. And for an instant, I am jealous of all the fans…flocking to see you, to be near you…to experience you. But then I remember that I have you. Our relationship is personal. Intimate. You have been mine all along. My roots are deep in the south end of this tiny island, and began so long ago, I don’t even know the names without looking them up.
I could live forever, and spend all my moments with you, and still not get to experience every wonderful thing about you. But I will die someday. And my spirit will joyfully spend eternity haunting every inch of this city.
I ♥ NY