I went to NYC for Halloween weekend to finish the translation with Ali. It was a wonderful weekend. The perfect mix between work, seeing old friends, parties, dinner or drinks, and time alone.
It was odd not having two other people around all the time to consider before making plans, choices, thoughts. When I was ready, I went where I wanted and did what I desired.
It felt empty at first. Noah and Lila walked me to security, waved and waved as I walked beyond the point where they could go and two minutes later, I was alone. Well, I suppose as alone as one can be in an airport surrounded by thousands of people. But nonetheless, something was missing.
Soon enough, I began to enjoy the extra space, even as much as I loved my nightly calls with them. Lila took the phone, gave me an air hug, then rubbed her nose against the phone for our traditional nosey-nosey-nosey goodnight. “I love you because I miss you because I don’t want you to go and I want you to stay with me,” or some version of that she’d say.
Since I’m almost always with Lila, I rarely hear her on the phone. When I do, I’m struck with how much she sounds like Rebecca, Noah’s youngest sister. Rebecca and I used to spend a lot of time on the phone, mostly when she was in high school and college. Now that we don’t have those conversations anymore, it is difficult to hear Rebecca’s voice when I talk to Lila.
My weekend on 110th and Broadway revived for me the days when Noah and I lived uptown our first year of marriage and the years before we got married. Halloween, I joined my mom friends in Brooklyn for a post trick-or-treating party. It was perfect. There, I saw all Lila’s old friends, all so grown up and mature, and met their little brothers and sisters, who are now the age Lila was when we left NY.
The same nostalgia poked at me as I walked through Morningside Heights. So much has changed. Grandma’s diner – where Noah and I ate grilled cheese with hot chocolate the night we got stuck downtown without money and had to walk 50 blocks in the freezing snow – is long gone.
Our last few trips to NY have been so unpleasant and exhausting, so it was nice to be reminded how lovely so much of my life had been. But it also made it all the more bittersweet knowing that in less than three weeks, we fly to Argentina and once again have no idea when we will return. If all goes as we hope, it could well be a very long, long time.
I waded through a NY soup of memory until my friend Levy pointed out I was fighting with ghosts. “Why attach to things that no longer exist?” he asked me. Particularly, I thought to myself, when these memories fill my present with that slight sense of loss. Who needs it? And I tried to let go and enjoy my time.
Noah and Lila met me at the airport where. I saw Lila’s sweet smiling face first. She grabbed me and hugged me and didn’t let go for a long time.