Goodbye, Old Friend


I said goodbye in NYC.

New York City. The Big Apple. The City That Never Sleeps. In the past three years, I’d learn to love that place as if it were my second home. I worked on a project that had me flying back and forth for days or weeks on end, living in a hotel on Time Square, socializing with the same people day in and day out. It was also the place where I grew up, I think. The place that witnessed the change in me. It was the place that shook me up, woke me up, confused me, enlightened me, recognized me and nurtured me. This is the very place where In This Life was born.

I had intended to take a week’s vacation in New York to catch up with an old friend, but due to work obligations and a change of plans, it became a quick weekend break followed by two meetings on Monday and Tuesday. One of my closest friends who was in the city for work the week before, extended her trip to keep me company before heading back home to Paris.

So our weekend went like this:

Lunched at Cosme where we feasted on chorizo, avocado and mushroom stuffed tortillas.

Laughed and cried in her hotel room, both in equal parts.

Top of the Standard for drinks – the rain had dissipated by then and the view from the rooftop was luminous and serene.

Members only dance party at the Soho House NYC’s Vinyl Room. Sliders and chips, Moscato and undanceable but danced to anyway music. This was NYC at its best. The vibe was vibrant, invigorating, pulsating with so much life.

Stayed a little too long, drank a little too much.

Another lunch at Boqueria this time for gambas and croquettas.

Shopping in Soho. The saleslady at Chanel telling me that the patchwork denim bag I was asking about was so last year. Me telling her I want it anyway and where can I order it?

Coffee and pastries on Spring Street.

Dinner with a beautiful, intelligent and oh so genuine very popular blogger named Natasha at Dos Caminos.

Monday night drinks and dinner at Soho House NYC, and more drinks at the Mulberry Project in Little Italy.

Finally. Shopping on a very rainy NYC day on 5th Avenue before rushing to the airport.

How’s that for a jam packed three and a half days in the city?

But that’s not the moral of the story. In a painfully long and ambiguous way, I am trying to tell you that I spent the weekend in NYC for a reason. The way that this friend of mine recognized how difficult it would be for me, that’s the focus of this long, unintended diatribe. It wasn’t the social events of those two days but the strength and sense that she knocked back into me because I had lived in my head and in my heart for way too long. It was her arms that took me in, her hands that wiped my tears, the strength that she passed on to me. She watched from the sidelines and then gave me her final opinion about how she saw things. And that was all I needed. Her words have resonated with me since the day I last saw her, the painfully detailed observations from someone on the outside looking in.

I’m wide awake now. And there’s something about getting out of the fog that feels like a chance at a second life.

I said goodbye in NYC. To a time when I focused on career instead of family. To the love of silence and solitude and of being alone. To the use of noise and people to drown out my confusion. To things that could never be, things that were just momentary and fleeting. To love, obsession and pain. NYC no longer holds me in anxiety.  From now and going forward, it will be my refuge, my shopping place, my eating sanctuary and of course, the home of my passion for fashion.

Paris was my third home, but let’s save that story for another day.