i'll miss the corner cafe. the short trek to it. just one half of a block. the lattes that have become both ritual and story. i'll miss hector poking his head out from the kitchen to say hello in spanish. the granite bar and tiled floor, the ever-changing art adorning the walls. the quiet familiarity of the place.
i'll miss the wine store across the street. the one so large it feels out of place in manhattan. painted in colors that bring to mind the open air, mountains, and a drier climate.
i'll miss the way the light plays off the red-bricked building across the way. the building that each saturday men and boys enter into, through an unmarked door on the first floor. i'll miss the curiosity that parade elicits.
i'll miss the river. especially on those days it's so quiet and still, the air so clear, that i feel i can reach my thumb and forefinger to the opposing bank and drag it towards me. tangible. i'll miss the way the spring air angles against the bluffs, and the trees reborn, swaddled in green.
to be honest though, i've mostly stopped noticing it. the water. the green. the very thing i first fell in love with--i've mostly stopped seeing it. i didn't mean for that to happen. it just did.
surely i'll miss the eccentricities of this very small and very specific corner of manhattan--washington heights, hudson heights. so close to water, right up against no longer used train tracks. i'll feel nostalgic for this suspended moment in time in which i stumbled into womanhood.
but it's not enough. those things i love are simply not enough anymore.
no one tells you that one of the joys of getting older is the confidence in that phrase: not. good. enough.
you know yourself better, priorities come into focus, and lies are easier to unearth.
you learn, with grace, to let some things go: friendships that were more a product of youth and need than anything else. men who diminish your worth and underestimate your intelligence.
you care less about satisfying everyone--being thought of as kind. you invest far less time in pretense because time is in fact a commodity and so you give it to those you love--your friends and your family and yourself. and you stop apologizing for that. you make decisions. and you move on. and you let go when need be.
and where need be. corners and cafes and shared apartments.
growing up, it turns out, has its perks.