4:15am: Finally finally get off the N at 8th Ave and walk home. After a dinner much earlier with two dear friends from high school, Andrew and Matt, we went to Stonewall. Andrew left, Matt and I stayed. We drank very little, but danced. Mostly that. Hence, the two hour train journey home. The perfect night, long morning. Shower and sleep. Sleepy, sober, silly-happy.
8:34am: Finally finally get over the last snooze and drag myself out of bed. Leggings, new thrifted top, beanie, scarf, cardigan, rain jacket. It isn’t that cold out, but I like to recreate the feeling of a bed on my body for my inevitable train nap.
9:29am: Get to work. Last day at 4+20. Hardly noticed Gowanus on my walk to the backdoor from the R. The clock-in app is broken, and there’s already a line forming at the door. I eat a biscuit and steel myself. Brooklyn really needs its pie this Sunday. Okay. We open.
12pm: Second barista comes in. Bless her. There’s been a non-stop line, but we’re having fun. The Pandora station is changed from Ariana Grande radio to Ella Fitzgerald. There’s a phone call about a bad review online. We press smiles a little harder, because it’s all whatever. Take pride in your work, and if someone is upset about the placement of their fork on a plate, recalibrate for that and move forward.
2pm: Third barista comes in. Bless him too. I break, heading next door for BBQ, which the sweet cook we give coffee to nearly every day buys for me. Pulled pork sandwich and potato salad. I am myself when I’m eating potatoes. There are three hours left in my shift. The manager at Fletcher’s pours me a taste of the smoothest moonshine I’ve ever had. A part of my chest collapses as I realize I will miss this place. I take my food and walk outside, back to work, but looking. Seeing. I feel like Brooklyn and I were just getting cozy. I could stay. I could stay.
3pm [ish]: The barista who trained me before leaving to go work in publishing comes in. It seems like a nice button to my last shift.
4:40pm: Ethan Hawke comes into 4+20, looking for all the world like a Brooklyn art-bro dad and his daughters are crazy sweet. I noticed them first. Precocious. Getting the finest New York has, bless them. The shop is messy, and I stay later to clean up and fold boxes. We were busy. We ran out of whole pies. The holidays will be hard. I will miss this place.
5:23pm: I gather my things and clock out. We hug. These people I hardly know, feeling a pull to know more just as I pull away. They are good people. It’s a family, for all the disaster, dysfunction, pride. I will count myself lucky to have worked there. Thank you. As I drape my rain jacket over my arm, I grab an apple from the fish tub before opening the metal gate. I want to look back. This reminds me of a few other times I should’ve looked back. Writing this now, I don’t know if I did. I smiled all the way to the train, I know that. I slept from 9th to Bay Ridge.
6pm [ish]: Walk in the front door of the apartment for the second time today. It’s a mess. My bad. My last night as a houseguest. I take my pants off and collapse. Sleep for two hours.
8pm: Bee gets home. We catch up. The past two days have been busy, separately. I’m excited for her to have her life (and her room) back to herself. This little babe is going places. I’m proud of her. And forever grateful for her sofa.
9:36pm: After much walking, we find a laundromat open. I put my clothes in a washer. Shocking. We wander around, eating chips and talking. Nothing feels sentimental or permanent. Nothing hurts. The donut selection at Dunkin’ is abysmal. I drink seltzer water, a taste I acquired here. Nothing is different, but the air is changing.
10:20pm: We return to the apartment with half the clothes. The rest they rotated for me, without my permission, but don’t worry they don’t charge me for it here in about 20 minutes. We catch up with Dain. I leave again to get my clothes. On my walk, I listen to Closer by the Chainsmokers and think about being 24. Wearing a sports bra, black tank, and black levis, grey beanie on my head, I look like a 90’s grunge cartoon and I am happy.
11:44pm: I sit down to write this. My clothes are in the dryer at the apartment. Bee’s snoozing to SVU. The song repeats, “we ain’t never getting older,” but I am and I am ready. I know I won’t finish this blog by midnight. I know I won’t be ready to leave tomorrow. I know the audition I’m submitting in the morning will make me feel strange. But I also know that two of those things aren’t for certain, so the only thing I can say with certainty is that I didn’t finish this by midnight.
This was my last full day in New York City. So much has happened. A month is no time at all. A month is long. A month is enough time to fall in a kind of love with a geography. A month is enough to break your heart. Enough to go get a new tattoo. Enough to learn some of the trains and wonder if you’ll ever feel comfortable financially. It is enough. It is enough. It is enough.
Everyday, I write “Let this be enough. Let me be enough. Sustain me. Sustain me.” I’ve been doing that for two months. It came out one day and I haven’t stopped to consider it. I stopped believing in the god of my father years ago. But I pray. You cannot unlearn a lifetime of supplication. That prayer, call it secular, call it hopeless, call it whatever. It is steadfast and open palmed, and is answered. I am buoyed.
I have no wisdom to impart. New York is one city, wild and long-standing. Life is long. Hold your loved ones close, or if your family is shitty, hold the people you chose closer. Life is long.
We have time, if we take it now.
Life is long.
Call your mother. Find a color you like to wear and cover the holy, sacred, one body you’ve been given. Smile with your face tilted towards the sun. Life is long, if you take it now.
12:21am: Monday. I’ll be in Boston at 8pm this evening. I love you. I miss you. I hope to see you soon.