I spend my first week back in New York at a new job crying every night, and I feel like an idiot. You text all day when you can, call me late at night as you’re getting off work and you apologize because it’s late, I should be sleeping, you don’t want to bother me. I tell you not to apologize — I don’t mind — but our late-night calls are brief, picked up again early the next morning.
I spend my first week back in New York at a new job crying every night, texting my parents for updates on my puppy. We’d only been together for a few months, and this separation, too, is meant to be temporary — I fully plan and intend to bring him over to Brooklyn in the spring, once I’ve transitioned back into life in Brooklyn, into life with this new job. The job has long hours, though, and I’m already concerned and stressed, worried that my puppy will hate life in Brooklyn, hate life in an apartment in a crowded city with seasons and plenty of inclement weather. He’s nine months old, and he’s experienced rain exactly twice. He already refuses to pee or poo when it’s raining or when it’s cold or when it’s windy. He just doesn’t understand why he has to be outside when the weather isn’t mild.
I’m surprised by how difficult this transition has been; I thought it would be easier, less painful. New York is home — it’s always been home — and, in many ways, it has been easy, at least in the ways that New York is in my bones and is intimately familiar, her rhythms and pace and hustle. I have friends out here, a community I started to build when I lived here a few years ago, but loneliness never stops being my constant companion, not when I miss my dog, I miss my dog, I miss my dog.
On my birthday, you’re sad because you’d rather be in New York with me but can’t because you’re in Boston for work. It’s your first birthday, you say, and I laugh because I’m old — I feel old — and I don’t really care much about birthdays, anyway. I never liked celebrating my birthday, and you say, I get that. I’m the same.
Our birthdays are a few days apart, but we were on a plane crossing the country on yours, then you were on a train up to Boston. We should have done something then, but we were exhausted from packing and moving and flying, and you had to work the next day. We plan to do something over the weekend instead when you’ll be down in New York, so I go to Atoboy with friends on my birthday, spend the night after on Facetime with you. I tell you about the food like I always do every time I eat somewhere, and you ask, Is there something new I need to learn to make you? (like you ever cook for me), and we make plans for the weekend. It’s supposed to be cold, but you laugh at that (I’m from Boston, remember?), laugh at how living in Los Angeles for two years has made me soft. I want it to snow, though; I want it to snow when I’m with you. I want us to go walking in a blizzard and take a million photos. I want you to be here more often. I want this, and I want that, and I want a lot of things, or, maybe, right now, I want one thing, and that’s my dog because going home to a puppy-less apartment kind of really sucks.