Brooklyn Newsletter, Month Three

Dear Brooklyn,

I’m writing this from a train (again with the trains! The theme will be long dead once I’m done with it…); we’re headed south along the Hudson River and because of daylight savings, I’m lucky enough to count a sunset among the scenic views. I spent the weekend with el Dad-o up in Yorktown (Mom is away, prancing on beaches in California and calling it ‘work’) and somehow came down with a raging cold in the past 24 hours. Just the other day I consciously congratulated myself for being so healthy all winter; the combination of the 40DC and Yoga warded off various forms of the flu until this sinus nightmare, otherwise known as The Cold ’08. I have a sneaking suspicion though that The Cold ’08 comes from drinking champagne from the bottle at Maura’s birthday bash last weekend along with about 12 other people. Not smart.

In the past month I’ve reread Eat, Pray, Love, felt lonely in Brooklyn, felt alive in Brooklyn, fallen in love with e.e. cummings, and cooked chicken potpie. I’ve thrown out my favorite red sneakers with holes and replaced them with black Converse-types. I’ve been seduced, charmed, insulted, and hung out to dry (all via text messages! Vivre la technology!) Every time I write these monthly letters, I review what has happened in the past few weeks and always end up at the same thought: “Christ, what hasn’t gone down this month!” After a particularly difficult day at work on Friday, Eliza and I had a couple of beers at a classy little joint called Tequillaville. “Shit man,” I said. “I feel like so much STUFF happens to us!” “Oh no,” she said, laughing. “It’s all happening to you; I’m just along for the ride.”

Which is perhaps why sometimes I feel downright exhausted with the whole experience (Frenchies call this “metro/boulot/do-do”). Unlike episodes of Felicity, my months are not measured in themes. When you’re single and working your ass off, it’s hard to measure progress and sometimes I long for the days of my German class in Clermont, when Herr Steck would end class with: “Ach so, what have we learned today?” It made you feel like you were moving onwards and that the previous two hours had been worth something. In the same token, it was also reassuring to look ahead, to know that the next class would end with a similar reflection covering different material. Progress.

As I bought my ticket tonight, I noticed a young couple holding each other in the train station. He was wearing a huge backpack (presumably filled with clean laundry) and seemed to be headed back to college. Someone on a loudspeaker announced the arrival of the next Amtrak and the girl, a tiny thing, pulled him tighter. I was so touched by the moment, the blind optimism, the manifestation of young love played out before me. If there is one thing I know about long-distance relationships, it’s the intensity of the moment before the one you love boards a plane or a train and leaves you empty-handed, wandering blindly back to drive home in the obvious silence. The ebb and flow of passion in those moments: to think of them reminds me that I once had the capacity to feel so deeply for someone, despite how difficult it is to muster up any hope for that again.

But you know, I’m banking on progress.


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