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It's A Helluva Town

They say you can't go home again. And after so many decades trodding this planet, I finally really get it. If you've never left, that's one thing. But once you do...well, things change. You change. Your memories soften over time, or they glorify things for the sake of posterity. That jump wasn't so high...that tree-lined street not as pretty...the pizza - not quite as you want to remember it. It's almost a justifiable reason to make sure you never go "home" again. Let the past be the past and let it be as magnificent as your memory wishes it to be.

I grew up in NY. In and around the city (for those of you who know - you know of which city I speak - for the rest of you, it's THE City, New York City - the only city in New York that's really only referred to by that name, and the only one that needs no other introduction. I've only ever lived in Manhattan for a very short time, but I grew up adjacent, mostly in Westchester, with summers on Long Island - and used the city mostly as a weekend (and sometimes weekday) playground - hop on a train and 30 minutes later be immersed in the sights and smells and energy of The Big Apple herself.

But now, after some time, I've lived almost less of my life there - which is weird to say. I'm just about to tip the balance - the first 22 years of my life now outweighed by lifestyles so different than in those formative years. A decade on the west coast, and now 21 years in Flalaland. I still have family in NY, and though all of my immediate family will finally be in one state again soon, there will still be relatives in and around NY and friends, of course, and...roots.

I visited more frequently earlier on and now I've actually let quite a few years pass since my last rendezvous. But I am to return again - initially for a family wedding, and then a party with new friends, and hopefully some reconnecting with old ones in person. It's a longer trip than I'm used to - I typically am a down and dirty kind of traveller - 3 or 4 days in a power stint and I'm back to reality. Once in my life - between the coasts - I did travel for an extended period - 40 days, actually, but that was a lifetime ago, with no attachments, no commitments, just the road and future ahead. Why such short, intense trips? A number of reasons - I wouldn't get bored with a place or fall in love with so much that I'd stay; I couldn't be away that long from my kids; my husband's health didn't allow for it; maybe I just didn't want to spend that much money.

This is an 11 day sojourn.

I'm not even sure what to pack.

I'm excited. I'm nervous. I'm...terrified.

Excited to be back in the city that has held my heart forever, to be surrounded by world class art and culture, and food and people and all that it has to offer from the palaces of museums to the grit of the subway.

Nervous to trust that the dog will get taken care of (he will); that the kids will make it back to their respective places (they will); and that I'll get any sleep (not so sure about that - the guest room bed that I do know well isn't the most comfortable - maybe by design).

Terrified that old feelings will arise, like meeting an old lover with whom you never really closed the door on, but just gently drifted away from; that regret will bubble up that I ever left at all or that I didn't come back sooner; disappointment that I'll have to leave.

There's also a lot of baggage that I left behind that I'm not so sure I want to bump into. I know I'll wander down old streets, in and around the boroughs and 'burbs, drive by places that are no longer standing, see shadows of lost loves, hear echoes of heartbreak...of expectations that went unfulfilled, of reality becoming painfully clear and unlike what I had dreamed becoming an adult would be, of disappointment - in family, in friends, in myself.

So if nothing else, this will be interesting, to say the least. I haven't been away from my kids this long in...well, maybe ever. Not at once. And they are of adult age, if you don't know me better. - so that gives you some perspective. One of them has always been in proximity - and I've always considered that it was more for them than for me, but really...I think it's exactly the other way around.

East side, west side, all around the town...the Bronx is up and the Battery's down...concrete jungles where dreams are made of...oh what is it about you - you're big, you're loud, you're tough...where little town blues go melting away...where neon lights are bright and there's always magic in the air...and I'll be thinking of your voice...

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Sep 25, 2023

Wonderful, wonderful , wonderful that’s all I can say 👍🏻❤️Great reads !please get these published somewhere ,somehow so others can admire your talent 💕❤️💕❤️💕

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