Monday, June 7, 2010
Central Park looking toward the Upper West Side.
So, here we are at another crossroad. Lee and I are the King and Queen of Crossroads. We know how to do change. But it doesn't mean it is easy.
We have spent the past two years jetting back and forth between New York and Minneapolis. Two weeks here, two weeks there. Many tell me I have the perfect life, the best of both worlds, living an ideal model for marriage. It is not as easy or as perfect as it might sound. It is expensive, for one. Lee and I have missed each other more and more over this time, since we have essentially lived apart since the fall of 2004, for another. Especially when you just need to look at each other in the morning over cappuccino to come up with Plan B. Recently we have synched our lives so that, when I am in Minneapolis, we "meet" for coffee every morning on Skype. It means I am up at 5:45.
I've even gotten really good at flying, something that terrified me only six years ago. I know LaGuardia like it was my childhood home, have learned what time of the week to fly, especially the times that give me an upgrade and a Greek chicken salad on the flight. I know how to tell the cabbie my address so he understands it. I know how to pack so my suitcase can be carried, not fork-lifted, to the fourth floor. I have learned how to be a traveler and to live, really live, in two places.
What I have noticed is that I am basically a happy person. I can live in either place, fully. When I am in Minneapolis, I am blown away by the people. I have both old friends and new. I have family. And I have the most wonderful, accommodating clients - friends, really. They have allowed me this crazy schedule and, in the end, it has been good for all of us. I love my apartment, my tasteful landlord, Duncan, my housekeeper, Dina, who has worked with me for fourteen years. I love the light in the apartment and the fireplace. I love the coop where I shop, my Lake Harriet where I walk, and my Episcopal cathedral, St. Mark's, where I find quiet and peace and occasionally remember grace.
But, I now face leaving New York in a couple of months and I am so sad, I can't keep the tears out of my eyes. Last night at Beyoglu, our favorite and inexpensive local spot, sitting on the sidewalk on 3rd Avenue, people, people, people walking by, pushing babies, holding hands, dressed in the most outrageous and beautiful ways. City workers were cleaning up from a street fair. As I was scrolling through iphoto last night, the menagerie of images of our life here silenced me - Central Park throughout the seasons, dinners concocted in our impossibly tiny kitchen, design days with Anna. I love the life of this city. I love touching the people - metaphorically and even bumping into them physically on the sidewalk, on the subway. I am a city girl - meant to be on my feet, not in a car. I love the diversity and I love what I have learned here. I dress differently, I see differently, I think differently, I write differently I am a better interior designer for my time here. I have grown to love the children in Lee's class and their extraordinarily loyal parents. I am never, ever bored. I have awakened here. In my 50's. And, it is looking like we will have to pull up anchor and head back to port - to Minneapolis - full time.
I will get over this loss. People get over a great deal more than saying good bye to a place - we lose people, too. There is no comparison, I know. But place has always, always been a North Star for me. It orients me. I know when I am home. I know when I am not. I have a distinct sense for direction and knowing when I am home. When I am not, I lose things, like keys and jewelry and thoughts. I lose myself. I have been at home in only a few places. On the farm in Iowa growing up. In Charleston, South Carolina, in Florence, Italy from the moment I stood on Via di Ginori and saw where we were staying for that month in 2006, and now I can say, in New York City.
Minneapolis will forever be the place I grew to love. It is not my native, spiritual home, but a place that is a safe port. And Minneapolis is about the people. I told that to a couple here in New York the other night - there is just something about the depth, intelligence, and integrity of the people in Minneapolis that is profound. And, now, with my sister, Holly, moving there, it will be only richer for me.
The end of this story is not yet written. I am mostly in denial about leaving New York for the summer. I can't even think about not returning this fall. Lee and I are very good about pulling rabbits out of hats, so who knows? A friend will use our apartment this summer, and we have people interested in subletting for the year while we return to port, to re-boot, re-fuel, and re-invent for the hundredth time.