PICK-UP TRUCK 2004
My big city sea legs firmed up after my first year in NYC and it came time to leave the two boys in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and get my own big-girl apartment on the island of Manhattan. I found a studio on 82nd Street between First and York avenues for $1100/month and moved in with nothing, having just vacated a glorified closet. I bought a new mattress and a desk and eventually retrieved the rest of my furniture that was lying in wait all this time in Virginia.
But I really needed a couch.
Thankfully BFF and fellow city-dwelling Blacksburgian Suzanne, was upgrading her upholstery and had a love seat to get rid of. DIBS! But figuring out how to get it from Murray Hill to the Upper East Side without access to a car was causing pause.
“No problem,” she mused, “I think Justin has his truck here, I’m sure he’ll help us.” Justin, another BHS alumni who calls NYC home, did in fact come through to help us. I had never actually met him before, but that didn’t seem to matter at all.
So Justin pulls up in his well-used pick-up truck and double parks so we can quickly shove the love seat onto the back bed. Then we all pile together in the front cab space and without so much as a blink he peels out onto First Avenue. We bounce up along the edge of Manhattan, the couch bouncing in the back, loud country music plays on the radio; all of us from the same hometown, now in the same big city. We already knew how to honk often and unapologetically and how to speed up at each intersection to keep up with the string of timed green lights.
I marveled at the ridiculous image of us, suddenly awash in homesickness. As the streets ticked by I felt like the life that I had always known, was now carrying me to a life I had no idea about. I was instantly lonely, scared and doubting my decision to be in the city. Justin was going to push me and my couch out of the truck and then drive away, taking everyone and everything I knew with him.
But I did stay in New York, for eight more years. I moved about in a happy bubble, floating around different groups of people, sometimes settling long enough to let them in. I wasn’t really aware I was collecting them until it came time to say goodbye. Without my noticing they had all become friends overnight. Friends that as a team became the foundation of my home, the furniture I was missing. Without them my bubble would have surely popped.
The compulsion I feel to seal in one last memory with each and every one of them is so much more powerful than what our individual relationships were to begin with. They weren’t part of my daily or even monthly life, yet I can’t let them go. I want to throw them in the back of the pick-up so they’ll come with me. I think as long as the lights stay green we’ll get there together. But if the lights turn red I might stop long enough to admit it’s likely I’ll never see them again.