side of the country, wondering when
I'd grow the ovaries to move to The City
where I was always supposed to live, The City
that I still think I might die in, eventually,
my friend asked me, "So, why are you still here?"
And I couldn't answer him immediately,
I needed time to think about how to reply,
and he interrupted my reverie and said, "See.
That's just it. You don't move fast enough
to be a New Yorker." I couldn't disagree with him,
but I was enough of a New Yorker to not admit that.
I said, "That's not actually true," and then
I went on to tell him, my speech mutating
into an Oakland/Brooklyn hybrid as the words gained momentum,
that I'm still here because I like loving New York
from afar. I like knowing it's there, like that lover
you see only once in a while, and it's always wild,
it's always hot, but you know you'll be in trouble
if you spend too much time together. You'll be so caught up,
you'll lose any ability to leave, and then you'll be broken.
You know that The City will break you.
And so, instead, you live for the red-eye flights
that seem so sordid, so desperate. There's something
gorgeous and filthy about The City and I
in our sweaty embrace for a few days or just a weekend,
a couple of times a year, while San Francisco sits at home,
waiting for me to call, to let it know I've gotten in safely,
to tell it that I love it and miss it and will be home soon.
My friend looks at me with one eyebrow cocked,
and I can tell that he's turned on by this illicit
bi-coastal affair. I take a sip of my liberal coast latte,
lick the foam from my lips, and smile.