My, it’s been a long while, hasn’t it? I guess a little over three years really. It seems like time flew by. You look really good, as you’ve always have. Different, yes, but just as beautiful. I wonder if you think I look different. Since I left, I’ve wondered a lot of things. I wondered if leaving was the right thing to do. I wondered how you would do, going on without me. I wondered if there would ever be room in your heart again for me.
You know, I never stopped loving you.
When I moved away, far out west, people would often ask me about you. I’d always tell them - you were the most beautiful, the most fun, the most alive. And after awhile, I’d find myself telling them, you were the only one I ever loved. Do you remember those days we had together? Some of the best in my life. Walks in the park, strolling down 5th Ave., running down the West Side Highway. I loved getting coffee with you at CeCi CeLa. The scones there were like none other. Strolling past the Guggenheim and the Met on an easy Sunday morning - wonderful.
And boy, did we have some wild nights together. Some I remember clearly, others, well, a bit too much partying and a lot of it a blur. On some of the days, we saw the sun come up together, remember that? Staying up so long, playing until the early morning hours. But really, what I loved was walking home late at night with you, when the streets were more quiet, the street lights and store signs would light our path and it was only just us. The stars would shine down and do the same if only you could see them through the luminescence of the buildings.
My favorite seasons with you were the spring and the fall, when the air was just cool enough - crisp and refreshing. The perfect climate made it easy to enjoy life. When the sun came out, the light would fall on you just right, no matter where we were. It was a joy to be outside with you during those breezy days. I laugh to myself, thinking about your mood in the summer and winters, though. During the summers you were really hard to deal with - it’d just get too hot for you to be pleasant at all. But you really loved all the free summer events in the park, like the Philharmonic and the Metropolitan Opera. That made you happy. You always were one for culture. But in the winter, it would get too cold for you to come out. But when you did, you dressed up oh so beautifully. Somehow, you were able to shine like the freshest snow and yet portray a warmth that could only come with the Christmas season. You looked really good in your Santa outfit.
But I have to admit, there were days that I got fed up with you. Sometimes you would just rush all over the place, with no consideration for any others around you. It made me feel like I was invisible to you, even though I was right next to you. It was your selfishness and your ego that made you both wanted and hated. You loved the attention and you’d do anything to get it from anyone. And in the end, you made me feel alone, left behind and forgotten.
And so in haste, I left you. I left you for what I thought I always wanted. I left you knowing that it would hurt - both you and me. I left because I wanted something new and different. I left trying to forget about you.
I’m sorry I left though. It was hard on both of us, I know. But, I made a choice and I was determined to live by it.
That was more than three years ago.
Now, I’m back and it’s good to see you again. I never got to say these things to you, so I’m saying them now. I want you to know. These past three years, I’ve been through a lot - a lot that has taught me about life, love, pain and hurt. I come back a little less young and a little more humbled. I learned what it meant to get hurt, with some of the deepest, heart piercing pains. It might be a little harder for me to smile but it may be a little easier for me to understand. There might be wrinkles near my eyes. I put down the toilet seat every time now.
I’m not the same person I was when I left.
And you’re not the same either. I see you’ve changed the way you look. While some parts of you are a bit younger, you mostly seem older. That doesn’t mean you’re not as hip, fashionable, trendy, or cool as you used to be. If anything, you’re more so. But maybe it’s just me, looking at you with changed eyes. I don’t know, just, something about you is different.
But you see, that’s just it. We’re both different now.
And I want to get to know you again. This time around, I’m committed. I’ll be here for a long while. I’m going to plant roots, invest in the community and stick around to see the kids grow up. And I want you to be a part of it.
I know it was me who left, so now, I’m asking you, can I please come back?
It will be better this time, I know it. No longer am I fickle, so easily jumping on a plane to get away. I want to be here, with you.
That’s the one thing that never changed about you, New York City. I have always loved you.