back east

I haven't stepped foot in New York City in 124 days, but who's counting.

Oddly, this is the probably the longest stint I've gone without being there—immersed in the peppery cement, that thick, cold air which whips. 

New York, although it's never felt like home, has always felt familiar. This place I've tried so hard to disassociate from—the piercing energy, clustered-everything—is still one I'm proud to understand.

This non-home is my brain's backyard: Take the M to the J, transfer to the F, walk four blocks south; two loops of the park and the route along Eastern Parkway equals 8.7 miles; the most affordable brunch is in East Williamsburg. 

I know it. It knows me. We rarely get along, but it's only because we've peeled ourselves open, exposing our deep interests, understandings, and wants. We're a match made in the hell I don't believe in. A hate-love relationship. 

I'm coming back, but not coming back. 

I have a new, disentangled life now. I have a new apartment on a new street. A new grocery store, yoga studio, and running loop. New coworkers, new responsibilities, new weekends. Now I climb mountains in mornings. I ski for half a day. My spirit rolls in fresh dirt, slush, and the just-enough air for my lungs.

This place speaks to my heart. Everyone looks you in the eye. I wear spikes on my shoes and hike in the dark. It's everything I've ever wanted.

Home.

In a few hours, I'll board a plane. I'm going..."back." Friends. Family. Familiarity.

Fuck. 

I'm in the airport now. I'm scared to fly, as always. I'm scared to leave behind this fresh powder, these mountains—my rock— and go there. I'm scared to land in LaGuardia and feel what I feel. Will New York let me in? Will it spit me out?

Or.

Will I love it? Will I...miss it? I might hold the people I love too tightly that I can't think of any other way. I doubt it, but I don't disregard it. 

There's only one way to find out. New York, my once-was stomping grounds, the city that never shuts up, or never shuts out? I will see you soon.