Adiós a Todo Eso
The last time I posted, I was in the middle of packing up my Brooklyn apartment. For years, my heart and mind had been divided between Miami and New York. If you follow this site, then you know that home has been a preoccupation from my very first post. Faced with an expired lease in a neighborhood I felt increasingly alienated from, the heart won and the rest of me followed. I’d planned on relaunching my site as soon as I was settled in Miami but then unpacking always takes longer than you think it will.
While the decision to leave NYC happened in a relatively short period of time, I now recognize it was a long time coming. Returning seemed inevitable but I couldn’t imagine the circumstances that would bring it about. There has always a strange tension between my native and adopted cities. I spent the better part of two decades explaining Miami to New Yorkers and vice versa. New York made me a writer but the stories that I wanted to tell always originated in Miami. Now that I’m here, I can barely keep up with all the new, and I’ve been desperate to get back to posting.
The only thing holding me back was knowing I had to write this initial entry that would necessarily be both an ending and beginning. New York challenges you as an individual in so many ways that it’s only fitting it gives you one more task on the way out – the farewell letter. Joan Didion set the standard when she said Goodbye to All That, but then she also set the standard for writing about Miami so that was one windmill I had no problem cantering right past. For months, my goodbye to New York and return to blogging were both permanently imminent while I sorted out how I felt about it.
Then yesterday morning, I woke up early and had my coffee under shimmying palms. I got my hands dirty in the herbs I’ve been obsessively acquiring. Friends were coming for dinner that night so I ran out to La Camaronera fish market for gulf shrimp – the only food I consistently dreamed about when I was living in Brooklyn. I picked up a key lime pie and grabbed a loaf of the Cuban bread you can’t find outside south Florida. I also brought home a bag of ripe red guavas so assertively fragrant that they overwhelm you the moment you step into the kitchen. All of the above errands, fueled by guanábana juice, were entirely unexceptional except they made me incredibly happy because I was exactly where I wanted to be.
With so much to say about my once and future city, I didn’t want to wait anymore to post. New York doesn’t need another goodbye and it will always be a part of who I am so there’s no getting away from it. Besides, it can’t tell me what to do because I don’t live there anymore.
To put it simply, being in Miami means I can write the following line: I came across a garden snake murdered by a peacock on my way to check the mango tree – because that also happened yesterday and it was only the beginning. I am home.