Brotherly Love

Lord, New York. Honestly, if she never got cold, I’d be there still.

My brother treated me to Prosperity Dumplings (50 dumplings for $11.50, and they’re amazing!) and an old favorite, Waffles und Dinges. So many dinges!

When we parted, my brother gave me a red Moleskine notebook. “Don’t read it until I’m gone,” he warned. In a failed attempt to go to Paddy Reilly’s Music Bar‘s Wednesday Open Mic on a Tuesday, I ended up nursing a Guinness to a cover of the Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York”, and cracked the small book open.

Page after page of inspirational thoughts, brilliantly turned into quips and one-liners, all apropos of the life of a van dweller! I was laughing aloud as I read them, and I think the French tourists to my left wanted a copy.

Gems like this:

You can sleep when you’re dead.

You could probably do anything when you’re dead, though. I don’t know too much about it.

Then, after splitting my sides thoroughly open, the text took a serious turn:

Never question your ability as a sister or role model. … You have been a symbol of strength & perseverance in the face of adversity.

And I cried, in a bar in Manhattan. I cried in gratitude for my life. In gratitude for my amazing brother, for the chance at this journey, for the enormous gift of those brief moments when you get to see yourself through the eyes of another, and the view sings in your soul like a view of the Grand Canyon. Thank you, dear brother. The book has already helped me keep my head up when the road got rough. Love you.

Projected absences

I left the farm where l’ve been living at the eleventh hour last night. Dishes done from the going-away party, van finally fully loaded. Teary goodbyes with my wonderful friends (plus one gruff “Whatever – see you in two weeks when the van breaks”). First stop, an old flame. I wish I could say I loved him enough to stay if he asked me, but all the love in the world can’t warm these bones in a Maine winter. Who would you miss if you left your life behind? I think although the names are easy enough to predict, the degree to which you will miss them never is.

So, why leave? This crazy dream was born when a friend, whom I had known less than a year and who I was charmed enough to take for a roommate (later, she took to calling me her wife), told me that

1. Winter makes Jolo a miserable human being, and

2. I don’t have to live where the winters are cold if I don’t want to.

Astute, succinct. It’s so simple! The choice so simple, the repercussions so vast. I fly south for the winter, and lives will go on without me. Friends will change. We won’t dance together at our wedding, and my children won’t have his beautiful hands. Who will I miss? That’s easy. But how much? How much will I miss?