It has been exactly 30 days since I left New York City.
What a strange thing to admit out loud. I left New York, a city that became less of a place and more of person over the 15 years I lived there. I wonder if this is what divorce feels like, abandoning a relationship I never imagined I would say goodbye to but knew I couldn't sustain anymore. We no longer could give each other the things we had promised years ago. No hard feelings - we simply ran our course.
But that's not 100% honest, is it? I ultimately left New York for someone else, someone New York introduced to me. It was a Saturday night at a bar, a traditional 'meet-cute.' Boy sees girl. Girl sees boy. Boy and girl know it's something, just not what. And then five years unfold, punctuated by space and heartbreak and reconciliation, in no particular order and not in singular fashion.
If that seems like an untraditional love story, you should meet New York. At times challenging, infuriating, and disheartening, she can also be inspiring and generous. She made me better, and even when I hated her, I knew I loved her. She's both the reason I stayed for so long and the reason I had the strength to leave. New York happens so fast you hardly notice change - embracing it is terrifying.
Over the last few years though, New York became a city to me again - magical, rhythmic, and full of life - but a place, not a person. And he has, well, he has become more than a person - he is a place.
He is home.