At the beginning of this summer, I wrote about how it felt to be coming to New York. To be embarking on my first summer by myself, to be headed toward the so-called center of the world. I wrote about how I wasn’t viewing that change of scenery and pace as a step up from where I had been, but rather a step in a different direction.
Now, upon getting ready to leave this place, I feel as though that was true in many ways. New York, people say, has an energy in the air that provides endless creativity. And you’d be hard-pressed not to feel that flow walking through Central Park on a Sunday morning, feeling of the heat of the day growing alongside the number of cyclists.
But a place is just that, a place. And what you make of your time there, or wherever you are, is about more than just the scenery. It’s about you, and those around you, and what you seek out.
A place can change a person, sure. I think New York, like any other place I’ve passed through and lived in throughout my life, has impressed a little bit of itself onto me. I like to think my world has expanded, if only a little, and that now I’ll never look at an empty street the same way. I won’t take open hiking trails for granted, or short lines at the grocery store. I think it might even feel strange to see so many trees, at least for a day or two.
I’m glad to be coming back home. I can’t wait to see stars again, to be with my family, and, yes, even to get back on campus. (Shocking, I know.) And, I’ll say before everyone asks, of course I’ll miss New York. I’ll miss the fast walkers, the weekend jaunts, the subway system, the million and one ice cream places. I’ll miss the fact that, if I wanted to, I could have walked out of my office on any random day and paid under 50 dollars to sleep in a nap pod. If that’s not peak strange city, I’m not sure what is.
But I’m not grieving this place as lost. I’m not dreading the return to Ohio, as if its differently-charged air could make me less of who I am. I don’t yet know where I want to go when I get out of school. Like many people, I’m not even quite sure what I’ll be doing. (All I know is that I want to write, I say.) So I guess what I’m saying is that…
Coming to New York or coming back to Kent is a change in place, not a change in me. I hoped I’d find that when I first came here, and I feel that I did realize it. But I didn’t have to find that truth at all, not really. I already knew. New York helped me to prove it to myself, to finally admit it.
So, upon leaving New York — a beautiful, terrifying, place, a place where, at McSorley’s Old Ale House, e.e. Cummings wrote the words, “outside it was New York and beautifully snowing. Inside snug and evil”. I try again to breathe in as the months pass me, to remind myself again that love is fickle, love is strange. Love is gray, not black and white. As in: I’ll come back again someday. As in:
New York is beautiful. I love it here. I can’t wait to be home.
Cameron Gorman is an opinion columnist. Reach her at [email protected]