Two days after Christmas, my longest-running and most precious friend and I drove by our old elementary school, slowing down to study its playground area as if it were a Picasso masterpiece. As the waves of Lake Erie did their thing behind us, I thought about how lucky we were to grow up in this environment.
I thought the same thing each time we visited our favorite lunch spot, where (for $5) I'm treated to: 1) as much sushi, shellfish, salmon, and ice cream my stomach can handle; and 2) meandering discussions such as:
"Remember the time we rode our bikes down that dark and deserted street, and Samantha's older brother and his friend trailed us in Samantha's mom's car, rolled down the passenger-side window, and silently shot us, one by one, with that huge Super Soaker before speeding away? What was that in retaliation for?"
"I mean, it could have been for a number of things...."
That thought, the environmental luckiness one, stayed with me every hour I spent on the treadmill in the rumpus room in the basement of my family compound (after so many years of small-apartment living, returning to a house where the basement has multiple rooms?), to keep me from adding "holiday weight gain" to my list of personal concerns.
These are merely a handful of reasons why I did pirouettes about the blizzard that canceled my Thursday night flight back to NYC. When I finally reached an airline rep. late Saturday afternoon, I let it be known that I would sacrifice myself for the cause:
"Don't worry about me, son, I'm not a priority case. I don't have to be rebooked right away. Save the others first," I said, while gazing out onto my snow-capped backyard and wondering whether it was too early to ask someone to pour me some wine or season my steak.
Instead of, "I'm terribly sorry miss, the earliest flight we can rebook you on isn't until three days from now," I got: "Sure, no problem, how about 11 a.m. tomorrow?"
"What about later in the day tomorrow? Like much later. Nighttime."
"Wide open. You're free to leave at 6:14, 7:14, 8:14."
So that was that, the homecoming was over. Once I got used to the idea of it being high time to head back to my second home, the city crib, I started doing pirouettes about that too.
Only they canceled my rebooked flight, after I was all packed and on my way out. I'm not landing in NYC until Tuesday, at best. I got what I asked for and don't even want it anymore. Now everyone but me is off vacation and back to business. I'm adrift.
I've run out of the Neutrogena face moisturizer I'd pumped into a Ziploc bag to get through airport security. I miss the laptop I brilliantly left behind. I miss halal carts, my other bedspread, the sound of freakshow honking. Two completely different places, two completely different regions and routines, have joint tenancy, separate but equal, within my mind and beating heart.