My boyfriend John and I had been together just shy of a year and a half when we graduated college. We had always talked about someday moving to New York City, initially bonding over it as a shared dream, but these conversations usually took place under the influence of red wine and in the safety of our beds. It wasn’t until days before graduation that we were forced to have “the talk” about what would happen next. You the know the one: you two sit outside the house in the car, tear-stained cheeks hidden by nightfall, illuminated only for brief seconds at a time by passing cars.
It was that night when he told me he could plausibly move to New York City. He had a place to live, a part-time job and the support of his mother to go pursue his dreams. This was the first time that New York felt real, not just some glistening mirage hanging out on the horizon. The opportunities that had arisen seemed impossible to say no to. I couldn’t have been happier for him despite my own nonexistent plans for the future, so the next day, he booked his one-way fight.
The following month saw me trying to set the record for most cereal eaten in one sitting and sneaking cigarettes on the back deck of my parent’s house in Colorado. I was lonely and heartbroken, and I was certain that I was suppose to be with my boyfriend, wherever he was. As the distance between us became increasingly difficult to deal with, New York City started to become a mere backdrop to being united with him. The more I missed him, the less and less important the place became. And when I finally found myself on my way to New York, I was honestly more excited to be in the arms of the boy I loved than I was for anything else. When people asked me why I was moving I was quick to say, “Love! And you know peruse my dreams and blah, blah, blah.” And as a self proclaimed romantic with a capital R who believes in love about all, I couldn’t have been more proud.
Upon moving to New York I quickly found a job and a place to live, though neither were close to ideal. The job wasn’t in writing and I was living in a cramped apartment with two perfect strangers. As magical as the city was, with each sky-high rent check it grew exceedingly more difficult to stay optimistic about making it in the Empire State. The combination of unanswered emails, overpriced groceries, shady laundromats and the absence of my ride-or-die-best-friends began to tip the scale in favor of leaving New York.
Of course, I couldn’t stop myself from blaming it on the man that I attributed to bringing me here. In the most desperate and trying moments, like that time I was locked out of my apartment in the rain with a trash bag full of laundry, that I couldn’t help but think while starring at my unanswered texts to my boyfriend, I came here for you and now look at me, with my white shirt soaked through and more mascara on the cheeks then my eyelashes. And hadn’t I?
One night during a stupid fight, over what I haven’t the slightest idea, I let the words slip out that exhumed my frustration over coming to this city for him. And in that instant he stopped me, sat me down and said, “Baby, you didn’t come here for me.” To which I responded, “Yes, I did. I moved all the away across the country for you, for love.” To this he laughed and said, “Yes, for love. But not your love for me.” And he was right. As much I hate to admit it, he was right.
I had dreamed of being a writer in New York City for as long as I could remember. I had lived vicariously through Eloise then Blair Waldorf, and eventually Jack Kerouac and Joan Didion. I had been telling people since I was a sassy ten-year-old with an afro of curls that I was going to live in New York City someday.
While other girls imagined their weddings, I imagined my book signing which of course would occur on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum. They envisioned their gowns and veils while I pictured oversized dark glasses and a tweed skirt suit. I went to college for writing in hopes of working at a big publishing house and interning at a fashion house in hopes of gaining experience that would lead me to writing fashion editorial. It was silly to think I wasn’t planning on coming here long before my junior year of college when he and I met. This was always my dream. I hadn’t moved to New York City because of my love for my boyfriend, but because of my love for writing. And somewhere between the long Skype sessions and the constant texting that comes with long distance, I had forgotten that.
I created this guise of coming here for someone else to hide behind when I failed. I wanted something to blame for the hardships and struggles that would no doubt occur when moving to one of the tougher cities in in the U.S. of A. And this, of course, failed miserably; when faced with that truth, I couldn’t even fool myself.
John merely inspired me by making the move first. My move to NYC was as inevitable and as tangible as the weather. And after all, wasn’t it our shared obsession with this big city at a crowded party the reason we clicked the night we met now two years ago? And wasn’t a similar crazy, passionate energy full of ambition that might cause one to get up and move to New York perhaps the reason we’ve lasted as long as we have? Should either of us find success in New York, it will be without question the result of tireless dedication to dreams as big the city we reside in–a dream we have both together and on our own.