Since the age of four, I have experienced this initially unexplainable and intensely strong connection to New York City, borderline obsession, vowing to everyone within ear shot that I will one day live there. My dreams came true at the age of 26, fueled by absolute love at first sight with David. The nearly two years I spent living a Brooklyn state of mind were less than ideal, tainted by life occurrences completely out of one’s control. While there are so many joyful memories and amazing moments connected to my life there, these currently invoke a deep sadness that is presently emotionally tormenting.
The very sight of the Brooklyn Bridge makes me close my eyes and look away and the thought of Cubana Café, the quaint little restaurant with its vibrant, pink neon sign in Park Slope, brings tears to my eyes. My mouth waters and in unison, a heaviness descends on my heart as I can still taste the delectable, Aztecan hot cacao on my tongue from MarieBelle’s on Broome Street in Manhattan. The heaviness manifests into a throbbing ache as I recall the beautiful, bulky and sprawling old tree along one of the many walking paths of The Nethermead area of Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. The very thought of one day returning to Barcey’s Coffeehouse in Bushwick for their perfectly balanced mint mochas, instills me with great anxiety and dining at one of my favorite French-American bistros in the Flatiron district is practically forbade in my mind.
In the winter of 2010, I recall having a lovely long distance telephone conversation with David. He was telling me about his life in New York, his daily routine and all of the things he couldn’t wait to share with me once I made the cross country move. We both agreed that we couldn’t wait to create our own memories together – have “our spot” and “our favorite coffeehouse.” We were thrilled to see how tradition would effortlessly establish itself within our new life together.
David and I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge numerous times, hand in hand, willingly stopping one morning to appreciate the breathtaking sunrise. The iconic landmark was also host to the surprising second time David asked me to marry him, presenting me with an engagement ring, days before our wedding. Cubana Café was “our spot,” a weekend brunching ritual – we’d laze around in bed until our grumbling stomachs were practically screaming, “feed me.” We’d then hop on the Q train one short stop into the charming neighborhood of Park Slope where we’d feast on deliciously fried plantains, steak sandwiches for him and Torejas, Cuban style French toast, for me. MarieBelle’s was a spot David had frequented with his older sister and anxiously introduced me to – I’ll never forget the way his face lit up as we walked through the door and the childlike innocence in his smile. It was actually the place that sparked our conversation about beginning our own traditions – and so MarieBelle’s swiftly became one of “our places,” as well. That unique tree in The Nethermead of Prospect Park was “our tree” and the sight of our wedding reception a little over a year ago. Barcey’s, at the corner of Nicholas Ave and Stockholm Street was “our favorite coffeehouse” in the Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, where we first lived together and that favorite restaurant was one of his places of employment where we shared many a tasty meal – namely, our engagement dinner date.
The above is only a handful, a snippet, of my life on the east coast with David and as it presently stands, I cannot imagine hopping on a plane to JFK anytime soon. I hope that this sentiment changes one day – I am almost certain that it will. I recall another lengthy conversation with David in which I immortalized my passionate bond with the city of New York – I explained the unexplainable – boldly stating that he was always the draw, the magnet to my soul that called me there since the tender age of four. I validated this romantic idea with the humble fact that he was born around the time that my attraction to New York began.
I wrote a few blogs back that the demise of my marriage couldn’t be clarified in a simple paragraph but that pieces would slowly come together as I continued and here is one of those pieces – To this day, I believe my above theory to be true. Sadly, I don’t think David ever did – he never considered himself worthy enough to allow even the possibility of that kind of love in, often heartbreakingly accusing me of making the cross-country move from Los Angeles solely to obtain work. Oh, how I wish he could have recognized and received the undeniable depths and magnitude of which my love was capable of going. I’ll always love New York just as I’ll always love David. I just have to figure out how to love New York without him because I can return to the city – I cannot return to David.