It’s been over a year since we left the steamy, summer stoops of Fort Greene, Brooklyn to settle here in small town Brookline, Massachusetts.
That summer we left, we made the most of the fleeting remainder of our days in the Big Apple, spending money we didn’t have on meals in East Village bottegas and drinks overlooking the High Line.
On one such night, traveling home from a drunken trip down memory lane where hubby and I trolled Avenue A, privately reminiscing about my carefree twenties … mojitos every night, fridge bare but for takeout, cavorting with Latin men … we stopped for frozen yogurt from my favorite hole-in-the-wall hot-dog/magazine/fro-yo emporium run by an adorable, toothless Polish man and then hailed a cab home on the Bowery.
Know the Bowery? Formerly occupied by flophouses, it’s now populated by trendy hotels and dominated by a giant contemporary art museum. Still, it retains its gritty origins, especially inching downtown to Brooklyn Bridge, where we were headed.
I stepped into the cab, and I have no idea how this happened but in closing the cab door, my arm brushed against my ear and my diamond earring flew off my earlobe and onto the street.
I stopped traffic — yes, like an aggressive traffic cop who’s had too much to drink– and desperately scanned the shiny turfed road for the earring I’d worn every day for so many years. Made by my mother for me from a cocktail ring my Great Auntie Suzanne — a chic Frenchwoman who frolicked with Fernand Leger in the lavander-scented French countryside as a young girl — had left me in her will.
And now I was searching for the diamond on the gritty streets of downtown New York. And wouldn’t you know — I actually found the earring back?
But light turned green and I couldn’t stop the roar of cars impatient to arrive at their next stop — club, bar, rumpled bed.
My diamond? Not to be found. Blending in with the glittering rock embedded in the asphalt, it was indistiguishable. Maybe a flophouse holdout would find it, cash it in, heralding a brighter future.
I remained remarkably calm, as hubby noted. I knew from leaving New York once before, that it takes things from you when you leave. As if taunting you, saying, “See what’ll happen to you when you leave your dreams of glittering success behind? Don’t be a fool. Stay.”
The last time I’d left New York — to go study writing in Maine — on moving day, I stepped on a nail, got pulled over by the cops and sacrificed my debit card to an angry ATM machine. But then, leaving New York also brought me my husband, who lived in Boston, allowing our knowing-each other to blossom at not such a long distance. And hence … my children … my life today.
Life began again.
So what if New York took my diamond? Big deal.
Because guess what I got in return?
A cozy new home we can actually afford. Oodles of fleece. Smart wool socks. Peace of mind. Good schools. I know … yadda yadda yadda … it all sounds so boring to my former, New York party-girl self. But today, it matters.
I may not have this:
But I’ve got this:
I know diamonds are a girl’s best friend and all, but I really would rather have fleece. At least here in Brookline. At this stage of my life. It’s soft. It’s cozy. Forgiving. It won’t fall out of my ear. And what better way to stay warm, than to wrap up in a fleece blanket, snug in bed with your loved ones?
[Never mind that they’re nagging you to watch Yo Gabba Gabba or asking for their 10th glass of milk … hush now, hush now … let’s go with the fleece imagery…]