Last summer, we left the city of New York. Our Cherokee (the old boxy type, hurriedly but lovingly bought in a crowded lot in Long Island) was loaded down with precious cargo- things too special to load into the moving truck. A note from translator Gregory Rabassa inscribed into Cortazar’s HOPSCOTCH, my grandmother’s demitasse cups. Odds and ends: toothpaste, toothbrushes, a few towels. Our “first child” plant Merl, who somehow managed to survive dark apartments, smoky late nights, and the occasional watering of Southern Comfort. Our real first child Esme: four and a half months old. Tucked into her car seat, completely unaware of the greatness of her birthplace.
And so we left in the still summer haze of early September. We emerged into a new life; a life of adventure, yes, and certainly a more bucolic one to be sure. The months have passed in a sea of joyful firsts: first foods, first steps, first teeth. Our life has calmed. We sleep again, we read again, The Literary Man writes as doggedly and as determined as ever, and we dream. Our little life is peaceful, family filled, and cozy.
Last weekend, we visited the city, our first time back as a duo since we had left. New York, if I could pick one word to describe you, it would be EVERYTHING. You are everything. Everything good, everything bad, everything in between. The Literary Man calls you UNKNOWABLE. But truly, I still love you. I love you for all your stinky garbage smelling streets, your crammed subways, your crazy taxi drivers. I love you for your passionate citizens, your diversity, your constantly changing face. For now, life in our little Vermont is just right, but someday, when we are old and very literary indeed, we will return to you, buy a house in the Village, and resume our wanderings. We will continue our quest to make you somehow knowable starting in Washington Square park, waiting for the piano player to appear, to start his magical music so we can begin again.