November 13th will mark the two year anniversary of when I left New York City. The mountains of Colorado will always be my birth home, but New York is where I became a woman. I have loved it and known it like no other place.
By the time I packed my bags into my dad’s white Subaru in Sunset Park, Brooklyn in November 2010, I was ready to leave. The city had begun to smell worse, the subways felt more crowded, everything seemed harder to deal with. Living with four people in a two bedroom apartment with one bathroom had become too much (and the cockroach situation was becoming ridiculous). Working so much (so much!) in order to just barely scrape by was not enough for me anymore. A rough break up with my long-term, live-in boyfriend left me raw and sad. I climbed into that Subaru facing forward and never looked back. I didn’t know what was ahead of me, but I would figure it out. I just needed to get out of this fucking city.
When the hurricane hit, I figured it wouldn’t actually be so bad. I was in Brooklyn the day before it hit, just visiting, and had to cut my visit short to escape before the subway system shut down. It’s all precautionary, I thought, everything will be fine. When it wasn’t fine– when things got flooded, people lost power, lost their homes– I saw that something big was happening to New York, and I wasn’t there. I wasn’t there to help, and I wasn’t there to endure and experience the disaster along with all the other New Yorkers who were getting through it. Together. As a City. I felt I had let her down. Yes, we’re separated, but I thought we still cared about each other enough to help out when shit really hit the fan.
Now I feel like there’s a fundamental separation between me and my friends who still live in the city. Something they know that I don’t. A line has been drawn and I can’t cross back.
I’m sorry, New York. I hope you can forgive me.