You can’t go home again?

by unfinishedthinking

Back in January, when I left New York for Richmond for my “final two weeks,” the ambulance took me to the airport straight from Sloan Kettering.  So there was no quick stop at our Chelsea apartment.  I assumed I’d never see it again.

Yesterday’s train trip to NYC was fine, and so I’m writing this from the apartment.  I’ve never been sentimental about places.  I never go see what the new people are doing at our old homes, I never have trouble changing offices at work.   It’s just not that important to me.

But I got a little choked up walking back into  this place yesterday–and I’ve felt a little nostalgic (a new feeling for me) about the beach house we’re selling.  (Yes, you’re right:  it’s an embarrassing number of homes.)

I think I got choked up walking into our little Manhattan apartment because…well, I’m not sure.  Probably a sense of relief.  Probably because I didn’t expect to feel as good as I felt after the trip.  Maybe because it makes me think that there are things I can still do.  Things I can still get done.  Have I been too cautious?  How much can I push myself?

The beach house is different.  It was always a crazy extravagance; we rarely got there.  But when we did get there, it was family and friends and wonderful hours sitting on the porch feeling the breeze.  We’d talk and laugh and eat glorious foods prepared by master chefs who happened to be family members.  Heather and Andy got engaged on the roof deck.  Later, so did Jason and Carley.  Ginny had a ridiculously large deck added to the roof so Jason and Carley could get married there.  Preston brought his friends there. My mom, my sister, my brothers-in-law all came.  One night, Ginny and I sat in our third-story bedroom with its wonderful ocean view and watched the most beautiful lightning storm I’d ever seen–we called down the hall to get George and Megan to join us.  Is it corny to say it was electrifying?

Ginny had women’s weekends at the beach occasionally, and it’s where Larry, Trevor, Jason and I had our first guys’ weekend.  For a few years we had sea-doos, which were outrageously fun.

I’ve never been much of a beach guy.  Sand is irritating, the sun burns me till I’m sick, the water’s often too cold.  (I want linoleum down to the water, the water nice and warm and the sun behind clouds.  Too much to ask?)  Sitting on the beach reading is OK, but there are better places to read.  Most any porch, for example.  But I did love some of the rituals.  If the traffic at Williamsburg or at the tunnel wasn’t too bad, I loved the nighttime drive to the beach with the top down on my car.

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