This time last week, I was drinking my coffee on a bench in Domino Park, watching the blue-green East River lap the foundation of the Williamsburg Bridge and fully crying in public (and making a failed-but-concentrated attempt to stop myself). I did what I came to New York to do: find an apartment. We received the email the night before: “You’re approved!” And I simultaneously felt a tingly oh-my-god-what-have-we-done?! type of shock and also something else. Homecoming. That wave of warmth and relief and clarity that signals you’re in exactly the right place at the right time.
It keeps sneaking up on me, that feeling of home, of rightness. Probably because I spend so much of my time seeking it, trying to perfect every little facet of my life and often failing (as we do), that it’s impossible to notice. I remember feeling it when I met Adam and sometimes in college around two or three in the morning, when I’d stayed up all night to write an essay. Now it’s happening all the time. On Sunday afternoon, waiting for the L Train, sweating from the heat of the station, avoiding the mystery liquid dripping from a beam overhead. Tuesday night, reading in bed, listening to the air conditioning rattle.
It strikes me that I’ve felt most at home within myself when I’ve ventured the furthest from what I know, often based on nothing but intuition. Starting a freelance business, moving to a strange city for a boy, writing about things that make me uncomfortable, culinary school, all the plane tickets I’ve ever bought. This must be what it takes, to peel back all the layers of what we think we are (or what other people have said we are) and find what’s true.
The light changed, the morning before I left New York, from cool white to warm caramel. I’m not entirely sure, being a born and bred Angeleno, but I think that means it’s fall. To me, fall is its own kind of homecoming, a release from the slight madness of summer heat. I feel that clarity and I see into the future, for the first time in a long time. I know it will be fleeting. I’ll continue to hunger, to not settle. But for now, I’m enjoying these moments—even as I play the role of crazy lady, choking down tears on a park bench.