Two suitcases are leaning up against each other in the corner of my room, their sides distended by clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. I take the last sip of my Manhattan, reveling in its smooth finish to a lovely evening – the spicy Thai food lingers from dinner with my family, full of birthday wishes and congratulations, punctuated by hugs from my nephew. I’m searching for just the right song on iTunes for my mood. “What a Difference a Day Makes” by Dinah Washington is a top contender, as is “On the Sunny Side of the Street” by Ella Fitzgerald. A newer possibility is “New York City” by They Might Be Giants. But the one I settle on is “Hey There Delilah” by Plain White T’s.
The bittersweet night is full of storm clouds. Is DC shedding tears over my imminent departure? Or is it a reflection of my own divided heart?
I have finished the pre-course pack, though barely. And I’m still fuzzy on the details of my tenses – simple present vs. present perfect vs. present progressive, and repeat for past and future. This four-week course to earn my certificate to teach English as a second language will probably be harder than I thought. I’m in the mood for a challenge, however, and it’s New York for god’s sake! Four weeks in the city of my dreams – I’m one of the lucky ones.
I blame my gypsy heart for this desire to pull the rug out from under my life every two years or so. What else would possess me to quit a stable paycheck, pay out half my savings, and move to a new city with nothing defined beyond September 18th? Do you still exist if your edges are blurred? If your position in society is vague and uncertain?
Emotions crowd my soul tonight, pushing up against the corners of my mind, colliding in deafening rumblings that give the current thunder competition. Fear, doubt, excitement, loneliness, peace – it’s all comfortingly familiar on this the eve of a new adventure. And while something deep inside wishes J were close by to lend me strength for the challenge, this is one more thing I need to do on my own. To prove to myself that I can stand on my own.
The coming hours, days, and weeks will be filled with sunshine and new experiences. There are walks, restaurants, nightclubs, museums, parks, shops, cafes, bridges, neighborhoods, subway stations, and more to explore and make my own. This is a month to move endless longing into possession, regardless of what is lost in the translation. And I think I’m finally ready to take this step, to make this dream come true. And who knows what will happen in four weeks. Isn’t that the reason we keep waking up in the morning? Isn’t it that hope in something good out there that makes us human?