Well, I’m back.
(anyone who guesses where that’s from, you get instant geek cred)
Tuesday night, I had an incredible last dinner at Angelina’s on the Upper East, where I feasted on roast chicken and wild rice, finished off with mandelbrot topped with ice cream (mandelbrot, for those of you unaware, is a Jewish biscotti with olive oil replacing the butter in the recipe. It is DIVINE). They toasted to me and everyone wished me a happy life. Little do they know that I’m planning to come back pretty regularly if only to submit myself to Angelina’s creations.
The goodbyes were casual. I knew I’d be returning soon, so there were no tears and no regrets. Just a buss to the cheek and a “See you soon!” Which is how all goodbyes should be.
On Wednesday, after waking up at 8, I found myself drinking a quick protein shake and cleaning the apartment thoroughly to prepare for the movers and their arrival at 9. Thanks to faulty directions that waylaid it in Brooklyn, the truck pulled up in front of my apartment building at 1:30. I was only irritated by the fact that I could have gone to the gym with my final morning.
As the movers cleaned my apartment and took out my stuff, the space seemed to get smaller and smaller until it shocked me that I even lived there. I couldn’t see my personality in the space at all. Except in the kitchen. It may have only had room for one dish at a time and the microwave got more love than my oven, but damn I loved that kitchen with its marble finishings and stainless steel.
After about two hours, my driver pulled up to the curb just as I was lugging a box filled with pans to the truck. Yes, my mom ended up calling me a driver from our former bus drivers’ company when it became clear I would not be making the train. Sometimes, the perks are just too good to be true.
We pulled out and made our way to 12th avenue, to transfer to the West Side Highway. I watched the city peel away from my line of vision, then spent the two hour drive attempting to read Edith Hamilton’s Mythology for the GRE (I’ve decided my concentration will be in World Mythology and Folklore), but my stomach rebelled about forty-five minutes in. Clearly, my superb car-reading skills when I was a tween have not passed through to my adult years. I tried for another twenty minutes but decided that Edith could wait. After all, puking all over a town car would not have been appropriate for my CT homecoming.
As we passed into Greenwich I started leaning towards the windows of the car, eyes opened like they never had been before on 95. The leaves were changing at different paces. Some trees were just barely speckled, others were completely bare. One huge tree had just a red smear in the middle, as if someone had been assigned to paint the leaves red but had been called away suddenly, leaving his work undone. I started feeling the newer chill in the air. The sun split the trees and shone to the ground in crackled rays. We were getting close. The streets turned quiet and twisting. I could hear crickets (CRICKETS) instead of cars and constant ambulance horns.
We pulled up to my house and after I thanked the driver, I took the steps into my garage and opened the door. Mom was standing in the kitchen putting on her earrings. She looked wonderful. “Welcome home!”
One two three steps and I was hugging her and then the tears came and they crashed down like rivers onto her shoulder.
I breathed in. My lungs swallowed more than they had in months.
After that little incident, Mom directed me to the kitchen stove, where a huge pot of pasta fagioli was steaming and waiting for me (ironically, Mom’s version of this soup has zero pasta in it, just veggies and broth). I had two bowls of it. She then told me about an invention of hers where you take whole pecans, smother them in honey, and roast them. I ate some of those, too.
Friday night I went to Kelly Clarkson at Mohegan Sun with my two best friends, and then yesterday I went to the Big E and ate my weight in cream puffs.
Yup. I am home.
PS. I have not seen Dad yet. Clearly he has bigger fish to fry down in Washington than welcoming me home. And I don’t say that in a sarcastic, “Daddy never loved me” way. I’ll be seeing him on Wednesday before he heads off for Siberia. Insert your own borscht joke here.