I felt that urge to run away hitting me square in the chest and that need was met by a friend inviting me to see his home town through fresh eyes.
I was so resistant to favoring the east coast over the west and yet it happened almost immediately.
So much of the fondness I have found with New Jersey and New York is easily explained by who I found myself there with. Jesse was the best host I could have ever asked for and truly went out of his way to make this trip unforgettable.
It’s hard putting into words memories that now seem so distant.
I remember the way that Central Park smelled; crisp and full of vibrant energy.
And that Times Square was nothing like I imagined it to be. I discovered magic in the form of an intimate David Bazan show and the comfort of really good coffee. I found myself in The Ace Hotel singing Bon Iver lyrics and waiting five minutes for strips of photos to make their way out of machines. I recall a lack of sleep and endless amounts of energy. Subways and the odd conversations they carried. Of being bold and unafraid. Of crying outside of the subway station and grieving friendships and celebrating new ones. Feeling small among towering skyscrapers. Seeing Staten Island at sunset.
I remember the way the Ocean smelled on the Jersey Shore.
And waking up early to watch a sunrise that never came. Meeting a family that was impossible not to love. Swimming in cold water and feeling so free. Road Tripping in the early mornings. Watching you drive with your knees and all of the other silly things that you did that make you, you. Walking along boardwalks and feeling the warmth of sun on my bare arms.
I remember the colors of the Catskills.
And the way the grass felt against my sleepy face. Trespassing and being so thankful for private property. The taste of really bad food on empty stomachs. Of cucumbers where pickles should have been. Of cemeteries and almost first kisses. Woodstock and all of the magic that place carries and will forever carry in my heart.
I remember wanting to stay in those moments forever.