(photo: New York Lovers)
My friend, Greg, and I belatedly celebrated my birthday in New York City a few weekends ago. I couldn’t afford it, but couldn’t afford not to go. Thank you, Discover card. I flew to Baltimore on a Thursday. We enjoyed a late lunch at my favorite vegan joint, Great Sage, then browsed the other Conscious Corner establishments. Back at his house, we soaked up the balmy air and a couple White Russians on his back patio before calling it a night.
On Friday we took a late morning train to Union Station. Thanks to the Happy Cow app and on-the-nose directions from a native New Yorker kitted out in Yankees activewear, we made our way to The Pennsy and the first of several fine vegan food establishments, The Cinnamon Snail. I was home…as at home as I’d ever be for someone who’s never felt like she belonged anywhere.
Our hotel was a short five block walk from the station and except for one Uber ride, we walked everywhere those three days. Greg booked me my own room with the best bed I’ve ever slept in and stunning views of the Empire State Building. I sang along with Bette Midler in Hello, Dolly! that night AND Sally Field in The Glass Menagerie on Sunday. An embarrassment of riches! I was bitten by the acting bug again. Feasted on.
I feasted on Korean bibimbap twice at Franchia Vegan Cafe, a stone’s throw from the hotel, where we chatted with the actress who played one of the witches in Wicked on Broadway. We twice trekked almost thirty blocks to indulge in Delice & Sarrisin’s decadent vegan French fare in Greenwich Village. Of course, we dined at Candle79. Enjoyed cocktails and live music at the sumptuous lounge in the hotel we stayed in last time. Wonderful like our past NYC weekends, and not particularly extraordinary, except that it was.
For this time I made a promise to myself that I would move there by age fifty. That’s a little less than three years from now. I’ve wanted to live there since high school. Since I sang the entire Evita soundtrack into a jumprope handle at the age of ten. Since I performed one of Hermione’s monologues from The Winter’s Tale in my Shakespeare class around age 40. Since I read David Foster Wallace for the first time. Since I wrote that essay about my childhood for English class. And since I started this blog.
I know I can write and audition and act anywhere, and I shouldn’t shelve these desires, and, more importantly, the work, until I get there. That’s why I’m forcing myself to write again, every day, no matter how badly, no matter how difficult. It’s not fun. I’ve so much to say, I don’t know where to begin. I have no idea where it might lead, only that it’s become a persistent itch that needs to be scratched.
I’ve survived enough heartbreak and pain not to fear death. What I fear is wasting the rest of my days just existing. Right now I don’t care if no one wants to read or hear what I have to say. It’s enough that I want to say it again.