Spring in New York & Other Musings

I inhale and let the air chill my lungs. It’s not quite cold enough to make my breath catch; rather, it’s that perfectly startling coolness that settles inside, like swallowing an ice cube by accident. I am walking down Lexington Avenue and it takes maybe three blocks before my pace quickens, matches everyone else’s, becomes determined to get wherever I am going.

In this case, I am going to meet Natalie and Cailin – and Cailin’s mom and sister – for lunch at S’Mac. My mom is walking next to me. I think maybe she’s wondering what’s going on in my head – this is the first time I’ve been back to New York City since I moved away six months ago – but more likely she’s distracted by the prospect of meeting Cailin’s mom. They’re sure to have much in common and everyone’s excited to watch them meet.

At first, I swallow ice cubes of air and look around me, wide-eyed. Nostalgia charges in, hitting me across the head, blinding me for a while. Why would I ever leave this place?

***

I wish I’d written this down back in January, when it was fresh in my mind. That painful nostalgia turned quickly into the more peaceful kind when I realized my love for New York City is very likely contingent upon not actually living there. But I didn’t write it down and now I can’t remember how I came to that realization, even if I know it’s still true.

Now, it’s been five more months and it’s Springtime in New York and I miss it. I miss bringing out my warm-weather clothes, going through sundresses forgotten in the cold, gray Winter. I miss rediscovering sandals and flip flops and bathing suits. I’m not shedding layers and tucking away bulky wool layered with moth balls because I never wore those things to begin with. Not here in sunny Los Angeles.

I wish I’d written it down, that feeling of calm confidence, back in January when it was right there on the tip of my tongue. Instead I swallowed it, choked it down, and I like to think it was because I was trying to internalize it but if I’m being honest, I was probably just too scared to make some grand declaration about how right it feels to be in Los Angeles.

Here’s the weird thing: It still feels right to be in Los Angeles. At least, it feels right to not be in New York, which is the same thing, kind of.

I guess I forgot that just because you’re ready to move on doesn’t mean it won’t hurt sometimes.

I didn’t even know that Spring was my favorite season in New York until now.

4 responses to “Spring in New York & Other Musings

  1. This is wonderful. I’ve moved cities a bunch of times and you’ve managed to capture exactly what it feels like to go back to a place you used to live. Love.

  2. I will say, I have never liked New York as much as I have this week – seeing everyone so flippin’ excited to be outside, to be without coats, and to have their feet exposed to the elements. I can see the allure that I’d missed all winter, but I will say, that even seeing the spring here doesn’t make me want to stay here. It just makes me want to be where it’s sunny all the time. Its OK to like LA :) I’ve been in both places and have come to the same conclusion.

  3. Sara, I must confess – this is my first time reading your blog. WHERE HAVE I BEEN ALL MY LIFE?! Good grief, you can write. I love this piece – it makes me desperately want to visit New York in the spring.

  4. “Just because you’re ready to move on doesn’t mean it won’t hurt sometimes.”

    This. Every day.

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