I moved to New York City because I knew it could hold my sadness. Vast avenues, tall buildings, longer, taller than my eyes could focus on, space and strength not to feel burdened by my sadness. I moved to NYC to make a home for the person heartbreak had shaped. Too many, so many, so very many, all those years ago, one foot in front of another, breathe in, breathe out, like waves shaping sea glass, it turned me into who I am today. Equal parts heartbreak and love. I will always be equal parts heartbreak and love. There will always be sadness. If other cities could not hold my sadness, I could not expect them to shoulder my grief. And there would be grief. Without grief there is no joy. I moved to New York for joy.
A hundred well-thought out reasons, professional, personal, a goal without a plan, a blog titled “If Ever I Could,” a photo of the city sky line all those years ago, five years ago. And then a plan, a timeline, first and second and third steps, and I was here, in NYC.
This city has held my sadness. Effortlessly, with grace. It handed me joy, effortlessly, with grace. It gifted me love. And I thought, maybe I could.
On a hot summer night in July of 2010, unemployed, a recent and official “failure”, broke, saddled with law school debt, long-term single, living at my mom’s, I watched a CMT special with Keith Urban, who belted out the lyrics to If Ever I Could Love and handed me a tiny, small package of hope. Hope. If Ever I Could…
I moved to NYC. I fell in love. There was a love story and I didn’t write it here because it is hard to write when I am happy. Sweet dreams at night don’t make any sense when paired with words over coffee the next morning. “Forever” whispered under the covers in the morning light sounds hollow when announced to the crowd at the dinner table. In this person, I found what I have not found in another person and I wanted to keep him forever. He said the same.
Past tense. Only hours later, already past tense.
With joy comes grief. This city won’t explode against the weight of my grief. The weight of my heartbreak. Vast avenues and tall buildings, they won’t shatter, even as I am shattering, even as they are picking up my pieces and storing them away for me.
“If Ever I Could” — there is some small, tiny package of hope in there. I’m not sure what it looks like or what it contains, or if I have the strength to look for it, but it’s comforting to know it’s still in there.
This is now the story of a heartbreak. The kind without the love story attached.