The Cuban sun burned especially bright on the day Katie and Seth got married, but the wind kept everyone comfortable while unlimited drinks made sure sobriety was never an issue. There’s something to be said about the exclusivity of destination weddings, cause they leave little room for strangers or acquaintances. Only the closest people will commit to plane tickets and accommodations. The celebrations are all the more intimate for it, and I’m always glad when I have a chance to be part of the that.
You never need to make a special effort to find the wildlife in Varadero; even on the resorts, birds will bravely snatch food at your feet, while stray cats toy with lizards and mice alike before eating them. And being surrounded by other people on their own holidays, whether they’re tanning on the beach or letting pretty girls cheat at limbo, brings a warmth to the atmosphere that even the sun can’t provide.
Somewhere, I have notes on family and names, the infamy of Cuban fare, being alone together, breaking the seal, passing Damian on the way to Havana, salty hair from salty air, rum and brown, threaded fingers, not enough euchre, every life-guard trying to sell me lobster meals, patterns on palms, plus 20 minutes Cuba time, finding out how deep my scars run, blushing through my sunburn, sand everywhere and in everything.
Continue reading “this must be the place”…
It’s good to have something to write about again. To have friends who are comforting and kind in my most sensitive moments, and just as importantly, things to confide in them. Good hair days. Reasons to wear something nice. Dreams without desire. Feelings without fear.
I never realized how much I needed a get away until I came home and got more done in a week than in the month before I left. Without a guitar or a workload or an internet connection or a routine or any of my decks, detaching from life as I knew it was a simple matter. Maybe that’s why it felt like I was gone for so long, even though time passed so quickly. The only real consideration I ever had was how I’d like to spend each particular moment, and presented with that kind of freedom, I learned to truly let go of everything else.
A few weeks ago, an anonymous person very thoughtfully sent me a track called NYC by Brolin. This person must know me quite well, cause the song is to my taste exactly. Not only that, but I’d been meaning to make a short film about my trip to New York (as well as the extended stay due to Hurricane Sandy), and Brolin’s minimalistic sound space and ghostly vocals gave me an atmosphere of warmth and wonder that matched my footage perfectly.
Personally, I don’t think I could ever create anything and name it NYC. It’s a city with too much depth and complexity to try encapsulating in a verse or song or moving image, then tie it up with three simple letters. I can’t wait to go back again some day to capture as much as I can.
I walk towards Penn Station, after being unceremoniously dumped along with several other confused passengers at Grand Central by shuttle. While it’s hard to get a sense of how long it’ll take, the grid gives me the courage to continue on foot instead of waiting for a transferring shuttle.
I carry screenshots of a map on my phone, which I soon discover is a poor substitute for an actual map when navigating New York. The roads occasionally run in strange directions or skip numbers, and it’s enough to throw off my orientation.
Still, the city feels smaller than I thought. So many stories happen here, told in movies and novels and songs, that I’ve always expected it to be a size relative to the dreams people have. This is what F. Scott Fitzgerald must have felt when he climbed the Empire State Building, saw the limits of the city for the first time from within, and was left “with the awful realization that New York was a city after all and not a universe”.
I passed through here many years ago when I was too young to be scared of what could go wrong, and too much in love to care anyway. That journey — on my way to Jersey by bus — was far longer than this one through Toronto by plane. I survived then, that’s how I know I’ll survive this, no matter what happens.
Continue reading “Escape from New York, part 2″…