One year ago today, I moved back to New York. Three hundred and sixty six days later, I still do not know if I left my life or began running towards a new one, both statements being equally hyperbolic; It is impossible to leave part of one’s life behind because it will always be engrained in the memory, in the emotions and every decision and moment are permanently attached to time in order for life to continue pushing it all forward. Same goes for starting a new one.
Last year on this exact day and around the same exact time as I am writing this, I sat across a table from the most beautiful woman I have ever known. We shared breakfast together. We tried to talk and it all ended up as small talk. It was very difficult to breathe the entire morning. I ate and felt more sick with every bite. I stared, during the drive there, all during the meal, on the drive across the street then standing outside of the airport as I stood there with my bags ready to leave her. I finally smelled her hair one last time as I grabbed her and almost crushed her with my embrace. Then I turned around and walked. I had to just go.
Last year for my birthday, I was on the beach with her all day. It was simple and perfect. She was the only person I talked with, the only person I saw and my life consisted of myself, her and whatever was a part of us at that moment.
Then I blinked, took a breath, got scared; One entire year now gone. For the past year, most of the moments that have filled my life have been moments of want, whether it be for a job, a reason, a purpose, love, companionship or answers. I have wanted.
I often get annoyed with people who say that it doesn’t matter where I am but who I am inside. I do not agree. I believe that where I am is often a reflection of who I am inside. I am here in New York because I have been too scared to stand on my own and accept that sometimes, good things end. I have seen a year flash by as fast as a day because I have wanted, because I have had and am now without and refuse to let go. I am here because I left my life in LA to come back to the life I had originally left to go there, and now I have two to contend with. I came back here because I dove back into the trash to find the diamonds I lost, and I am afraid they are gone. And it all keeps moving forward.
There was a time when I lived here and New York City was something else to me. It was friends, it was the theater. It was expression. It was an endless family with the rest of them close by. It was thirty years of all I knew, thirty years of development, of ideals, of education, of experience, of the entire colorful scale of emotion a human being acquires and lives through.
I find myself stuck now. Stuck within rhetoric, stuck in fear, stuck with the reality of mortality and the want for either something more or something different. I am stuck with ghosts, memories and the hindsight of what could have been done with second chances. I am running in place fueling a machine that I do not believe in but I do not want to break free from it alone.
I know what is out there. I know the endless nature, the bottomless quantities of cultures, the perfection of life just outside the traps of society; I have experienced a lot of it.
It’s been a year, and that’s all the time a person needs to give up and give in. That’s more than enough time for the weak to succumb or the vulnerable to be broken. I know, somewhere deep, that the time I needed for closure is nearing its end, that it is time for me to leave this place that now has nothing to offer me on a life path I once pursued and desire to get back on once again. A wanderer, a journeyman, must continue moving. When I tasted the food in Italy, it paralyzed me, but I eventually left. When I swam in the middle of that pristine lake in El Salvador, I swore I’d float there for years, but I got on the plane to leave. A year later, the smell of her hair still infects me, but I must learn to take it with me. I must find a way for it to not strap my feet to the ground but to lift me up onto the wind to float me around once more.
I don’t know where I need to go to next, but, I never really did. And I have the confidence and ignorance to not ask why or how.