I've been nervous about my first trip back to New York City for some time now. (Note that I didn't say "home to New York City," for that city has not felt like home for years.)
But now I sit in anticipation of a redeye flight to JFK, and my stomach is in knots.
I don't want to leave LA.
I've left LA plenty of times since moving here - to visit Joshua Tree, Palm Springs, Big Sur, San Diego, Anza-Borrego, Mono Lake, Vegas, etc. - but something about this trip recalls too closely the times last year when I visited LA, when I fell in love with LA, when I fell in love in LA, and had to leave and return to New York.
I never wanted to leave LA then.
I always wanted to come back to LA then.
A part of me thinks that I could never return to New York City again, pretend that it doesn't exist anymore, that it never existed, and maintain a perfectly wonderful existence. That is, if the place were only a place.
But New York City is more than its claustrophobic skyscrapers and subways, its pollution, bad weather, bad attitude, and endless nightlife.
For those of us who dedicated a large chunk of our lives to living there, New York is still embodied by the good people we left behind.
I say that I'm returning to New York City for my favorite weekend, Open House New York, but in truth, I wonder whether I'd really go back if there were no good people to experience it with. It's not just about whether I'd have a couch upon which to crash, but what (or who) would really make the trip worth it? I mean, haven't I seen enough? Is it worth a cross-continental flight (and then a cross-continental return three days later) just to paddle the Bronx River, or tour the old TWA terminal at JFK?
When it comes down to it, the people weren't enough to keep me in New York. I had to leave.
But they're probably enough to keep me coming back.
I guess we'll see after this weekend.
But as I sit here in the Bob's Big Boy in Burbank, a place I love inexplicably, I already can't wait to come back home to LA.
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