I think New York is the closest I’ve ever come to having an ex-boyfriend. More on that in a minute.
Two weeks ago, I spent a weekend in Brooklyn laughing and talking, trying on sunglasses I can’t afford, mentally furnishing my future in a store full of cool bowls, taking zig zaggy walks down sidewalks to go out of my way to crunch leaves beneath my boots and talking about plans with my best friends.
My relationship history with New York is this:
Between high school and college, I was in a seriously on again/ off again relationship with New York City. I was able to spend some majorly quality time with New York City summers. My desire to work in fashion almost required this rite of passage. These summers were thick with snapshots of youth. They were tight budgeted, emotionally anxious and iced coffee drenched summers working for free for some really amazing (also sometimes really horrible) companies. There is much to be said about those times that could easily veer into my writing comfort zone of sappy reminiscence, and this post could get a whole lot longer than it already is going to be, but I’ll do my best to avoid that. That’s a whole other pot of beans.
But, real fast, I’ll say that to sum up the impact of those seasons is impossible and in short, who I am today could not be more directly related to my times in New York in high school and college. To know me now, is to know those summers.
A majority of my senior year of college was spent thinking about New York and wondering if that’s where I was supposed to be. A huge amount of my graduating class, including most of my friends were moving there, but at the time, my list of cons weighed more heavily than my list of pros and my emotion-based decision-making capabilities weren’t shouting as loud as my list of logical ones.
With that being said, even the mention of the words “New York City” will forever capture my full attention and bring on feelings of ownership over the city. The tiniest slice. The way everyone who has ever spent time in New York feels, but has absolutely no justification in saying because no one owns New York WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT MAKES IT AMAZING BY THE WAY.
So here’s where the ex-boyfriend theory comes in.
I broke up with my boyfriend. AKA: I decided not to pursue a future with New York.
It had been an on again/ off again relationship for years, but this was the final call, the end of a time, the Facebook official decision, complete with the long road trip back to California with all of my stuff in the trunk and a very self-loathing playlist on for the whole drive.
I knew our issues. And I’d decided I couldn’t move past them.
My decision or not, it sucks. Because even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it’s the end of something. And the end of things can do a number on me.
Par for the course in any break up, there was grieving. It took an honest to goodness whole year of seeing pictures of my friends living their lives in New York– essentially hanging out (and having fun!) with my ex boyfriend– to not be secretly bitter about it. I swear, I’m happy for my friends. But they’re chilling with my boo and that sucks, ok!?
Fast forward to this year when I plan a trip to visit my friends in New York. I feel ready. I feel happy with my life. Yesssss, okaaayyyy…. I’m still singleeeee…. but in like a cool way. Yeah. In a cool way.
But when I walked off the airplane, into the fresh, fall air, the love of my life might as well have been waiting for me in the baggage claim in a well pressed suit with a bouquet of wildflowers.
Not roses, for the record. Wildflowers.
In less metaphorical terms (I know– why stop now?), it took literal seconds of me sitting in Brooklyn and laughing– real, mouth full of pizza, belly laughs– with my best friends, to be fully back in the game with New York City.
I was swooning. Big time.
And at that moment, mere hours after landing in Laguardia, if you’d asked me who I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, I would have said New York.
How could I have been so blind for all of those years? What even were the reasons we weren’t together now? Whatever they were, I can look past them. Because New York is different now. And I’m different now. And the minute I go back to California, the packing begins.
The next two days were magical.
Memories. Flattery. Long walks with talks about the future.
That city just freaking know the way to court a lady.
But by Sunday, the cracks begin to show. The reasons why things didn’t work out the first time start popping up and it’s beginning to be painfully easier to remember why you had to say good bye.
There may or may not have even been a moment, orchestrated by a little too much margarita, where I was able to by honest with myself and New York about the state of things.
Walking alone on Monday morning through a quiet Manhattan felt like a goodbye. Again.
My writing skills fail me in trying to convey these emotions without sounding like an after school special about the pitfalls of young love. And the cliche of a young girl walking alone in New York City (maybe crying a little bit) as she ponders her mid-twenties with rosey cheeks and a coffee in her hand is not lost on me.
But by the time I got back on the plane I knew it was over.
At least for now.
And that’s what New York will always be to me. The ex boyfriend. Maybe even the love of your life. The guy who you’ve tried and tried and tried again to make it work, but just can’t. And as dramatic as it sounds, the one you’ll maybe wonder about for the rest of your life.
I’ve never actually had an ex-boyfriend. This all, of course, is all a presumption from intell I’ve received via friends with ex-boyfriends and, the best resource on accurate portrayals of love, the movies. But I’ve thought about this a lot and I feel confident in my analogy. Because up until this point, NYC holds record for one of the longest and dearest relationship I’ve had.