2,025 miles away

Special thanks to the Daily Times Chronicle in Woburn, MA. 

For Tom.

 

I woke up a few Friday morning’s ago unsure of what to expect. It was 8 a.m, New York time, and I was sitting in the room of an Airbnb apartment trying to put together the perfect outfit. First impressions have always been important to me and on top of all of that, this would be our first time ever meeting after being acquainted for a handful of months.  

As I got dressed, I thought back to how we became acquaintances. Urban photography had always been a peak interest of mine, and somewhere in between the rows of Instagram hashtags and mindless scrolling, I found you.  

Now back then, I was just another person who lived hundreds of miles away from all the action. All the street noise, all the co-ops, all the taxis and all the people running up and down the different platforms in the subway, rushing to get to where they needed to be. The city offers silence to no one and after a lonesome evening at home, I decided to hit the reset button on my typical, highly reserved, ’second-guess-all-choices nature’ and with a click of a button purchased a round-trip ticket; where? New York, New York.  

For the first time in my life, my parents weren’t mad. You see, a few years ago my mom had this talk with me. I had just gone through a hell of a breakup and my mom, being experienced in life, had more than a few words ready for me when she saw that all the dust had finally settled. And she said, in a loving way that a mother could, “Travel. Get a passport. You are young and there is nothing here in this town, let alone world, that is holding you back from experiencing what’s out there.” Such a short statement had such a profound effect on me. Friends meet at their favorite bar, one drinking a beer, one drinking wine, the other drinking a gin tonic, and together they pool their ideas of their flawless future; their idea of what a lottery ticket could buy them; their idea of the perfect getaway. Instead of it being me, sitting at a table with some friends and dreaming about what could be, it ended up being my mother and I, me sitting at her kitchen countertop and her, standing in “her corner” where our counters follow the walls and create the perfect nook for presenting her next lecture. 

I walked in the next day after I purchased my tickets and said, “Mom, I’m going to New York.” Okay, to be frank, that’s not how it happened. What I truly did was walk into the kitchen, washed my hands, took a deep breath, let it out, stared outside into the backyard, listened in on what was on the T.V., and took yet another deep breath. Believe you me, I was nervous. My mother’s opinion means a great deal to me, and her possible disapproval was eating away at my confidence. But then I sat down in my trusty chair at the kitchen counter, and with gusto said, “I’m going to New York next week, and I’ll be flying out from Dallas.” I watched a radiant smile form on her face as she said, “Well good. You deserve a trip.”  

My phone began to ring as I sat there in the New York City apartment, it was my friend and we were headed to Boston for the day. This was an exciting day for me, as my relationship with the said man of interest had flourished into an instant friendship. So, without hesitation, I grabbed my jacket, my purse, my phone charger and briskly walked out of the apartment building, down the stairs and got into the car with a smile on my face.  

As I gazed out of the passenger side window, I couldn’t help but have high expectations when it came to us meeting each other. You’re a runner and as a runner, you have found all sorts of nooks and crannies that a tour guide can’t offer me. Your photographs played a huge part in arousing my interest in Boston. The infamous Citgo sign, MIT, the Prudential Tower lit brightly for the best ball team hands down, the Red Sox. So, as I stared out the window, I couldn’t help but dream of eating a slice of pizza and carrying a bag of apple cider donuts as you showed me around Faneuil Hall.  

We got into Boston around 4 p.m., and by 8 p.m. it was clear you weren’t going to be able to make it. I sat alone at a table in a window of The Last Hurrah and stared out into the bustling city, where a husband helped his wife exit their Uber, and another woman lovingly held the arm of a man, staring at him with bright, glistening eyes. I took a final sip of my martini and sighed, realizing that there may never be another opportunity for us to meet. I would never see your face outside of a cellphone screen, and you would never witness my rich laughter as you speak to me in your handsomely thick Boston accent. After soaking the reality in, I tilted my head and chuckled to myself. I’ve never felt closer to anyone than I was then, sitting there in the window on School and Chapman, with you classically stuck in traffic outside of the city. I’ve never appreciated anyone else more for sharing the same enthusiasm I had for our meeting. I’ve never met someone who is so proud of their city, so thrilled to tell me about the renowned seafood, and beyond pleased to hear me say, “I have never tasted any dessert that remotely compares to the delicious bliss of a Boston Cream Pie!” 

I left back to New York that night, but to this day the pride of the city has never left my mind. The rich heritage and congested streets call out to me, reminding me that there is more life to be found beyond where I reside; there are more experiences that I have yet to create, and above all; there is a man, running the streets of Boston wearing his “Boston Strong” shirt. Always sharing pictures that tease my mind with the notion that the moment of loneliness I felt that night on School and Chapman, was really the beginning of a romantic story on how Boston stole my heart some Friday’s ago.

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