It’s been a month since I hauled my suitcase up the narrow, steep stairs, slid the key into the door and stepped into the tiny, dark apartment that belonged to a stranger.
29 days since I sat on a West Village fire escape with a cup of hot coffee resting on the railing, at 4am, jet-lagged, watching loud friends in their 20s stumbling in high heels, hailing cabs.
28 days since from the same spot, I heard the blond woman, hair a mess-she’d obviously fallen asleep somewhere-loudly whispering into her cell phone, recounting the events of the night. I
27 days since I met up with an old friend and to the random melodies of magical jazz, filled the scarce silence with stories that we chose to tell.
26 days, since I walked the city for 12 hours, getting on and off the subway as if it were a free Disney extravaganza, and I, 10-years-old.
25 days since a late-winter blizzard buried New York under a few inches of snow, emptying the streets of anyone but brave tourists in soaking sneakers, subways transforming into makeshift homeless shelters for the day. I, schlepping bags of precious underwear and t-shirts I’d just bought, because not a minute can be wasted, through the evil storm.
24 days since I began to wonder when I will miss my son, when the separation anxiety that crippled me on my last trip will take over.
23 days since I accepted that it will never happen, that he’s finally old enough to be away from me, that I’m finally ready to remember who I am, even if for a few fast days.
22 days since I walked around Barnes and Noble and Union Square, taking deep breaths, as if I could keep their air inside me until next time.
21 days since I gave thanks to Saint Patrick’s Day parade traffic that kept me from getting to the airport quickly, for even Queens’ highways looked beautiful that day.
21 days since I wanted to stay forever, 21 days since my four-year-old boy ran to me with a bouquet of flowers bigger than him, 21 days since I realized a new chapter had begun.