BlogHer featured my post about needing to amaze a room with my writing. Check it out, here!
Today I found myself in the city, without a car.
I needed to get from one hospital (the wrong one) to another (the right one), and I needed to progress down one street for about a mile and a half. So I took a walk.
Contained within that distance were gingerbread Victorians, Edwardian flats and the rare rebuilt modern mid-century dwelling, as well as numerous boutiques, movie theaters, libraries, cafes, bodegas, juice stores, places of woship and fine dining establishments.
Each one of these homes, these blocks, these restaurants held some sort of memory for me. Unusually, as I walked, the memories attached to the street were almost exactly in the chronological order they occured.
The beginning of the road featured my first post-college apartment. There it was, the flat where I learned how to be a responsible adult: paying bills, cleaning my messes, parking in my correct parking zone and avoiding streetsweeping days. There I lived my young dream of being an up-and-coming urban executive. I wore suits and heels (except on Fridays), and I proudly ran in those heels down the street to catch the 1 California bus. There was the liquor store where I once bought a bottle of wine for my first real dinner party. There was the corner where Darcy and I first said “Goodnight” to each other, even though neither of us wanted to. There was the nail salon where I got a mani/pedi for our date nights. There was the driveway where we packed my meager belongings into a rented U-Haul and began a new life in a new country.
A few blocks down the road was the restaurant where I openly cried into a starched white napkin while we digested the news that my eggs were no good. A few blocks beyond that is the condo we decided to buy, where we become city dwellers once again after the suburbs, with its many happy families, became a wasteland of broken promises. The condo was a possible tenterhook leading to a new reality, one of being a childless couple.
And in that condo, against all percentages and bookmaking odds, I grew and nutured two delightful human beings, spending nine months throwing up, reading Proust, watching The Hills (“Dump him, Lauren!”) and staying in bed. A block away is the hospital where I gave birth to those bundles, who quickly taught me the power of grace and redemption.
And into that hospital I strode, where I awaited the next chapter of this wonderful, terrible, unfathomable world that continues to perplex, astoud, infuriate but mostly just surprise me.
I never know what will happen down the road. But I can truly say that no longer do I wait for the destination. The last decade (or so) has taught me that the moments of memory, of joy, pain, love, ambition, accomplishment and failure are the proof that my life has been lived. Full stop.
And the thing about pounding the pavement today? I realized that the tree-lined road I walked contained countless memories of other people. That tiny church has presided over thousands of weddings and funerals. Hundreds of couples broke up in that bistro. That’s what I love about cities: we live amongst the triumphs and ashes of millions of people’s lives and dreams. And that doesn’t make me feel insignificant. It makes me feel immortal.