Blood Moon Rising
Something peculiar happens when someone decides to leave New York City. There is the clichéd “Why I’m Leaving New York” essay and the overwrought Instagram captions that act as a 21st-century love letter to the city. After all, it's hard to imagine someone penning "Why I'm Leaving Boise." What is it about New York that makes it so hard to just move away in silence? There is always a “You’re not breaking up with me, I’m breaking up with you” sentiment between the physical or digital lines, no matter what the circumstances may be — financial, physical, or just plain exhaustion. Make no mistake, the city is exhausting, and it is only when I leave (whether for two days or two weeks) that I can feel my shoulders shift down, unaware they've been curled toward my ears indefinitely, stress carried between my shoulder blades.
The beautiful thing about New York – and also one of its greatest injustices – is its transient nature. People come into your life all the time, but they go almost as quickly, off to a new city or state or country, or career. It is a cycle of love and heartbreak that keeps New York fresh and frustrating.
Recently over wine at a little French place in the West Village, my childhood best friend — four years into her own New York adventure — told me, “I was waiting for you to have to experience the part of New York when people leave. It happens to everyone.” And if you stay long enough, it happens again and again. Two of my best friends – one made in college and the other made in New York – are moving away this month. I hoped I was exempt somehow, but nearly two years in, I guess I'm lucky that I'm just now experiencing it for the first time.
On Hudson Street at the farewell dinner, my friend said, "We'll always have New York." But what sounds like gratuitous sentimental waxing is just true. The city makes you work harder for everything and is rarely kind, but it carries your memories for you in all its corners with grace. You walk down the street to meet someone for dinner and something else comes back to you entirely. Another time — who knows what month – you were on the same street, tucked into a little tapas restaurant with a friend talking about how you could never leave New York. Across the way, you toasted to signing your first New York lease with champagne. But that was last year, and things change.
Not quite ready to say goodbye after dinner, we went to a friend's apartment. In the middle of our conversation my friend stopped to point out the blood moon over Brooklyn, facing us in full view. Spiritually, blood moons are said to signify both the beginning and the end of a chapter. They’re even said to bring people closer to their true destiny, their true path. "Of course that's for you guys," I said. But just because I happen to be staying in New York for the foreseeable future doesn't mean there is stagnancy in store for me, either. For the very nature of the city forbids it. Chapters open and chapters close, and ours – navigating the city together – ended with the sanguine symbol suspended among the stars.
I can't wait to see where we all are a year from now.