I lived in Manhattan for four years. Now I am living in Brooklyn. I still haven’t really accepted it yet. Every time I walk down the street and see some reference to my new borough, I bristle a little bit. “Brooklyn?” some side of myself says. “Really?”
Which is strange, because I did want to live here. On a certain level, I sought it out. I wanted more space, for one thing. And then there’s the neighborhood itself. There is something so beautiful about life here, something that was inherently missing in the neighborhoods where I lived in Manhattan. It feels more like somewhere you could have a real home, instead of some walk-up where the rent is too high and your landlord doesn’t care about you at all. My new landlady lives in South Carolina and calls me on the phone to tell me that she’s so pleased that we have decided to move in. She has an old school Brooklyn accent, and in my fantasies, she grew up here.
Our bedroom is in the front of the building. The first night we spent in the apartment, the light streamed in and I saw blue skies and green trees. I couldn’t remember the last time I had that view outside of my window. Probably in Dublin, probably in another lifetime. It felt so novel to me. I usually loathe sunlight in the mornings (a conspiracy to wake me up before I’m ready), but that day, despite being spent and aching from our move, I loved it with all my heart.
Not to say that there is no difficulty here. Our first Saturday, we became locked inside when the doorknob, weathered and worn after too many years of use, decided that it had simply had enough of our shenanigans as its new owners and would no longer be of service to us. It was, in other words, the Kreacher of doorknobs.
Here are other things: it takes longer to get to work, it takes longer to get home from work, I don’t know where the best place is to get groceries and I wonder if I will miss my friends in other neighborhoods. And, the answer is, yes, of course. I will miss my friends. But they are only a ride away, thanks to the wonder of New York’s transportation system. Once you get on the train, what’s the difference of a few more stops, really? And not to mention the tremendous amount of people who live in Brooklyn, too.
I will miss Bagel Works on the Upper East Side. That much is certain.
I made my first dinner tonight in the new kitchen — some sort of bacon-y, spinach-y, garlicky pasta creation. It was good. I went to get a bottle of pinot noir to accompany it and I lucked into a free baguette. “You want it?” the guy behind the counter said. “It’s yours.”
We still don’t have a couch, or a dresser, or a wardrobe. We don’t have a TV and we don’t have a coffee table. It feels weird to get to this stage of life and not have those already in my possession, but, then again, I almost feel like I’ve never had a home before. I’ve lived with other people, roommates, who were more aware of how a possession could make a home, and I always just went along for the ride or took whatever the leaving roommate left behind.
But here, we have the whole floor to ourselves. Here, there is only one bed, but there is a lot of room.
At the store tonight, buying the groceries for my impending supper, I spied a basil plant in the produce section. It was $2 for an entire potted basil plant. “Keep it in sunlight,” it instructed. “Make sure it is not too wet or too dry.”
I bought that plant and I took it home. I think we will be very happy.