I Get Along Without You

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…

9 Responses to 'I Get Along Without You'

  1. Erin Cameron says:

    There’s just something about Mew York City, a quality that other cities emulate but can never completely recreate. Walking down the streets of Manhattan, I somehow feel more alive, as if there’s a current that runs beneath the sidewalk that recharges me when my foot hits the pavement. I would move there in a minute if I could, but my husband is adamant that he will never set foot in New York City – the one big disappointment in my marriage.

  2. faith says:

    Oh..this song is just breathtaking. As are your last few posts in the month of May. Just catching up and it seems there is a bit of puzzle that just needs a few more pieces to become complete..perhaps a children’s book from a Mama..A Wild Kinda Mama like you!? Something is happening for ya…I can’t wait to see what it is.

  3. claudia says:

    I’ve never been. One day. One day!

    And – I absolutely LOVE that song.

  4. Alicia says:

    I have a hard time believing that a play about the Book of Mormon could be funny…oh obviously its being mocked and portrayed incorrectly. I just want you to know it is the single most sacred beautiful life changing book written by prophets through out history protected by God and given to Joseph Smith to be translated for the benefit of the people in our day. It is true and fits with the Bible as another testament of Jesus christ. It saddens and offends me at a very personal level that someone wouldst take such a sacred and personal text and make light of it. Talk about casting pearls before swine. Before people indulge in such base entertainment I challenge them to read the book of mormon for themselves with an open heart and pray about it. It is true!

    • Jillian says:

      I actually think that the show did a remarkable job of being humorous but not mocking. I thought it was respectful (and I think that’s the official position of the Mormon Church as well- but don’t quote me on that) while still looking at the world with a critical and comedic eye. But thanks for sharing your perspective!

  5. Alicia says:

    Well that’s good to know. Thanks:)

  6. Alicia says:

    P.s. I do have a sense of humor about things about our Utah mormon culture but get defensive when it comes to core sacred beliefs I hold.

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