I wanted to be a writer, that’s all. I wanted to write about it all. Everything that happens in a moment. The way the flowers looked when you carried them in your arms. This towel, how it smells, how it feels, this thread. All our feelings, yours and mine. The history of it, who we once were. Everything in the world. Everything all mixed up, like it’s all mixed up now. And I failed. I failed. No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less. — Ed Harris, “The Hours”
A few hours ago, a dear friend sent me a text message which read, What’s the first day of freedom like? What’s left to say after three years of enduring a great love that turned into your greatest heartbreak? It was an autumn three years ago, the warmest we’d known, and I spent a day with scrappy misfits, kids on the verge. Kids hacked away on laptops in the dark. Blasted music and complained about Fresh Direct deliverables. Created memes and raged rap battles on Twitter. I remember leaving a small office in Soho, a place where the doll-sized elevator never worked and the receptionist was whoever was on their way out to lunch, and I remembered feeling something, and that something was possibility. And it was all because of a man who knew how to weave the kind of stories you’d stay up all night listening to. Stories that consumed you, came like swallows. Leaving the office that day I kept murmuring, take me with you.
I spent the next three and a half years telling stories until my voice was hoarse and I could speak no more. Out of respect for a great man and mentor, I’ll never talk about the innards of that time beyond my farewell song, but I’m heartbroken. It’s as if someone carved out my still-beating heart and left it on the carpet to gather lint and pulse out until the dust inevitably covered it whole. And even though I left on my own terms, armed with so much, part of me feels like no matter what you start with it ends up being so much less.
And I’ll leave it at that.
So permit me my mourning. Today I spent time with my champions, old friends, new ones, and myself. From almond croissants in Union Square to carb-loading all things citrus to my heart’s content at Rosemary’s, to pedaling through the dark at Soul Cycle, to thinking about what it means to pray, to listening to boys playing out their hearts, to clinking glasses at Antica Pesa, I needed to be with people I admired, adored and respected. I needed to get past this dark moment. I needed to feel like I felt that autumn, when there was so much possibility.
It’s there, I know. Just give me time and some quiet to see it.