Riding the A train downtown, I think, not much more of this. Today I will pull the money from the bank, today I will sign a lease, and in ten days I will move to Brooklyn. No more frustration at looking up in hopes of seeing the 125th street station, only to be greeted by the yellow stripes of 145th. No more inching past 135th. No more gypsy cab drivers who stand at the mouth of subway offering rides and sidelong glances that distill my womanhood to nothing more than curves and cutouts. No more nine-flight escalators stuck behind the person too lazy or too tired or too indignant to walk down. No more of the slow and silent panic that waiting for the A train in the bunker that is 181 elicits.
And no more of the crowded elevator up to the street when riding the 1 train late at night. No more listening as men speak in a langue they wrongly assume I cannot understand.
I have lived in Manhattan for eight years now. It is a number that both alarms and amazes. Eight years.
In ten days this will change. In ten days I will fill a truck with only the furniture that will fit into a small studio apartment and I will hurtle south. To Brooklyn. The southerner in me appreciates this. Victory by degrees.
It is a quiet place—quieter, at least, abundant in trees and coffee shops, and I am undoubtedly, indubitably, indefatigably in love.
With the beer garden across the street and the Catholic church around the corner and the small restaurant that upon entering my father declared like a small pub in London.
I’ve spent eight years in New York searching for a home. Not just searching for the place, but the meaning of the thing. The meaning of the thing at this in between phase in my life when home is not the people that I’m with—no parents, no husband, no children—because it’s just me. For the time being, it’s just me. And home is…
Undefined. Or unanswerable. Or undiscovered. As of yet.
I don’t know if Brooklyn will feel like home any more than any place before it: 66th Street, 104th, 80th, Washington Heights. But the word of the place—the word of the little pocket I’ve fallen in love with—the word of the neighborhood I’ll soon call my own—I’m pretty sure it’s my word.
And that’s something.