Tuesday, January 30, 2007

a square of the airport

i watched the new york city skyline through the tiny window of my seat in 18-D on a flight to minneapolis. i gave up trying not to think of how i was leaving behind many of the people i love most in my life, and also a city that i’ve come to feel at home in.

new york as a place is full of paradoxes. it is so completely overwhelming that we listen to our ipods on the subway and the bus and so block out almost everything. the site of one of the greatest tragedies of this country turned into a tourist attraction. new york is where you can be whoever you want to be, and where i found a part of myself.

i met jason and julian for breakfast at a diner on the east side friday morning. it was a typical get-together of the three of us, one-liners, coffee, and a few introspective moments. it was good to see them. something about the easy companionship that comes from years of friendship settled my nerves about what was to come.

after breakfast we walked to the train, and i said goodbye to julian at 59th street. jason and i then caught up quickly before he got off the train at 23rd street. i continued riding to astor place, and ascended the familiar stairs with a sigh of satisfaction. i grabbed a seat in starbucks to wait for mollie, and passed the time by reading. when she arrived we hugged and got coffee and spent the following two and a half hours telling stories and making predictions about my semester in sydney. we took a short walk to st. mark’s so i could get new sunglasses, and then we parted ways by the RW train entrance at campus.

sandy made me hot chocolate soon after i walked in the door, and i wrapped myself in a blanket to read. i found that i couldn’t really concentrate- i was so anxious(in a good way) about seeing andrew a few hours later that i kept reading and rereading the same parapgraphs. finally i got up and began to get ready, deliberately moving slowly so that i didn’t have ten minutes to sit and be nervous before i had to leave.

i met andrew in his office’s lobby, and came up to see his cubicle. it was so unbelievably good to see him. his friend ricardo stopped by say hi and make plans to meet us for a drink later. andrew and i walked down to the subway and quickly fell into easy banter, as usual.

we arrived at the corner bistro, one of andrew’s favorite places, and as we walked in i was bombarded with the smell of beer and burgers, the sight of two small rooms straining to contain the patrons, and the sound of nine-to-fivers unwinding after a long week at work. andrew and i watched the soccer match while we waited for a table, and then caught up and laughed as we shared a burger and fries.

saturday i met leigh near times square, and stood hugging her in the middle of the street. she introduced me to her friends tyler and alice, and we grabbed food before going back to their hotel to hang out. andrew got there a couple of hours later, and after he had met leigh he and i left to go to dinner at dad’s.

we sat talking with dad and sandy for a while, and had just started eating when elise and nate finally showed up- their train was late. we were all throwing out one-liners and laughing, talking about politics, whatever. we finished dinner and i said goodbye to elise and nate before andrew, dad and i left to see spring awakening.

the show was amazing. completely my kind of music, and a story i could totally relate to in terms of growing up, dealing with life and love and how much of the time we have to do things we don’t want to.

andrew and i had omelets the next day, and then went to see smokin’ aces. when the movie was over we drove to dad’s and he waited in his car while i tried to put the playlists i had made for him onto his memory card, which didn’t work.

i came back down, and we said goodbye.

so now i’m sitting in minneapolis half way between home and home, and i’m thinking about goodbyes. i absolutely hate them. i start thinking about it way before it will happen, and then often can’t enjoy the last moments that i have with whomever i’m saying goodbye to. goodbyes used to mean promises of i’ll see you soon and not much thought, but these… these have been some of the most difficult of my life.

most of me wants to turn around and hop a plane to new york, call out surprise! as i walk in the door and watch your face light up as you realize that i wasn’t ready to leave you yet.

the grey seats blend into the grey walls and the grey carpet until msp becomes one continuing stretch of a place where i most severely do not want to be. saying goodbye has shocked me into realizing all over again just how much i need you, how much i care about you. some invisible thing caught in my throat when i left you and i found that i could not say what was in my heart. such a shame, for those are the things that i truly wanted you to hear.

i love you. i miss you. thank you.

i'm leaving your town again
and i'm over the ground that you've been spinning
and i'm up in the air, so baby hell yeah
oh honey i can see your house from here
if the plane goes down
well i remember where the love was found

i should be so lucky, even only 24 hours under your touch
you know i need you so much
i cannot wait to call you and tell you that i landed somewhere
and had you a square of the airport

'plane' - jason mraz

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