The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
That line leapt out at me when I had the privilege of seeing Elevator Repair Service’s Gatz at The Public last week. In it, ERS performs the entire text of The Great Gatsby. It’s an eight hour evening altogether and I’d sit through it again right now if I could. While I was watching, I shifted between getting swept up in the performances and marveling at the text itself, the gorgeous glittering sentences.
That particular line sums up the way I always feel when I’m taking a cab into the city from JFK. On the one hand, I’ve seen it a million times before. On the other, it’s always new. I’m always a little girl, looking at the New York skyline and wondering what magical possibility is there waiting for me.
In an hour, I head home to my boys. I miss them something awful and at the same time, I have enjoyed the big lonely bed and the experience of waking up and facing no immediate responsibility other than getting some caffeine in my system. I admit that part of me longs for the freedom I used to have, even as I’m living a pretty free kind of moment. It seems a waste of a beautiful morning, this longing. But nevertheless, there it is.
We’re doomed to be like sailors. We survive months at sea, driven only by thoughts of home. Not long after we finally reach shore, we find ourselves gazing at the ocean again. But none of this gazing negates the fact that my family gives me all I’ve ever known of any real kind of happiness. So now I gladly go pack my suitcase to return to the chaos that almost certainly awaits me.
It’s been a wonderful trip, overall. There were stories told and words read and meetings had and dinners eaten and babies cuddled. There were late nights crying with old friends and late lunches at Barney’s (best people watching in all of New York). All the stuff I’d never do at home. Plus, a friend of mine must have bribed the president, because he somehow scored tickets for us to The Book of Mormon and I’m certain it’s the funniest show ever written.
I’m always sad to leave. I always can’t wait to get home.
Here’s my perfect soundtrack for a midnight ride over the Brooklyn Bridge. I get along without New York just fine- except perhaps in spring…