|Leaving my family behind has always been hard.|
When we moved from Puerto Rico to New York, I was devastated. When we moved from New York to Connecticut, I was numb. We moved to a couple of neighborhoods before settling in South Marshall Street for the longest in a very long time.
Most often when I dream of home, I dream of South Marshall Street, even though it’s no longer the place I remember. We lived there from the tail end of my fourth grade year until halfway through my Sophomore year in high school, when we moved for the very last time as a family. I remember sitting in the back of that van with my father, both of us staring out that window, both us pretending not to cry even though we were only moving three miles away.
In college I lived with Ceasar in New Britain for exactly one year and couldn’t wait to go back home to Hartford. He hated this about me, felt like he was competing for my attention between my friends, my family and Hartford itself. And in many ways that was true. I told him I’d known my friends, my family and Hartford for far longer than I’d known him.
In part, I didn’t want to leave my mother alone. Even though I didn’t go home much it was nice to know I was close by for emergencies. But a larger part of me has always been afraid of change. I hate change. I hate instabilty. The night before my first day in college, a college that was only a bus ride from my mother’s home, I broke down into nervous, panicky tears. I didn’t know these people, this brand new place, and I didn’t know what to expect.
It’s easier, much easier knowing what to expect.
One of the worst parts of moving, especially to a brand new place, is that you have to build your community all over again. You have to make new friends, learn your way around, not just from point A to point B, but eventually, learn the shortcuts and the alley ways only way a native could. And there’s no rushing that process. So when I met Todd, I knew I was on my way.
On our second date, Todd took me to Sushi Park for dinner. It was some of the best, freshest, tastiest sushi I had to date, and when I took that first bite all I could do was close my eyes and moan. He then took me to the Bourgeois Pig in the East village for dessert fondue. I remember worrying that the dulce de leche would be too sugary or cloying, but it was perfection, and even though I hadn’t paid it still broke my heart to leave all that pound cake and dulce de leche behind, but I was so full. We asked for the wait times at PDT but decided to walk and get to know each other instead.
It was so nice, so very nice, to meet a kindred spirit, that each other’s company was enough. We talked about work. About our dreams. About love and relationships. I talked to him about what brought me to New York. He told me about the girl he still loved.
And then he introduced me to Rob and the twins.
Imagine, if you will, three wise men sitting on top of a mountain in an undisclosed location, surrounded with by wisdom, literature, patience, and fine foods.
|Rob could rule the world but chooses to kick our asses in Dominion instead.|
Only these three wise men are a set of fraternal twins and and a computer programmer, and the mountain is a high-rise close to Grand Central, and the fine foods are the best delivery Manhattan can offer, and you’ve got Rob and the twins.
|For deep insight, you go to Al.|
And they took me in as one of their own. I bonded with Aaron immediately. He has an evil little mind and makes such fast, quick-witted, trollish comments that if you’re not paying attention, you’ll miss them. So obviously it was love at first swipe.
|Before fucking your body, Aaron will fuck your mind.|
Over the next couple of weeks, Todd did everything he could to set me on the right path. Every time I talked about The Big Fancy he pointed out how I referred to it as The Company, and the way I talked about how I had been with The Company for so long. He told me that my loyalty was misplaced. That it didn’t matter how much time and and effort I had given The Big Fancy, The Company. In the end they were just looking out for their own bottom line and I was just another small wheel in the machine.
I knew what Todd was telling me was true, but even then I hesitated. I’ve always valued stability over anything else. It was why I went to school for social work instead of creative writing. I knew as a social worker I could always find work. However, the phrase “starving writer” exists for a reason.
Todd understood my fears, and told me it was about time I got over it. He introduced me to a few business contacts and his networking group. On the Fourth of July, we sat down and drew up a plan for the following year.
|It makes sense if you squint|
Todd promised to be my support. He would help me in every way he could, but, he told me, there was no way I could ever learn to be extraordinary if I didn’t take the chance. If I wanted to write, then I should write.
It was now or never.