It would be remiss of me not to speak of Brooklyn as a huge part of this trip. It is where I stayed for the week, where a lot of good things happened and where I found sanctuary when the wailing rush of Manhattan got to me.
The neighborhood where I stayed felt like an old song that I know how to sing.
Not yet gentrified with just a smattering of wine bars and whole food restaurants mixed in with the corner bakeries and bodegas. Still diverse and open to all with Peurto Ricans/Russians/blacks/whites/Hasidic jumbled up in the streets and homes. It has its own rhythm; where I was just a few stops up from Coney Island. And I loved it so. It is funny how you can slip back into a skin you thought you had forgotten how to wear. And it was a little disconcerting how comfortable I felt once I found my way about.
Brooklyn, she was the recipient of my Hope Notes mission. I first learned about Hope Notes in my Mondo Beyondo class. It is an exercise in signs, in letting the Universe speak a little through a Sharpie pen and a stack of Post-Its. Since then, and especially when I am feeling off my game, I try to have my supplies on hand to leave little notes behind to be found by someone who might need to hear them.
The first day I did it in Brooklyn I got caught. I felt clever slipping that little note onto the door of the elevator at my friend's building.
Then I, ah, forgot something upstairs on the 7th floor so I had to ride all the way back up. With this guy who got on at the 1st floor.
Who read the note from behind me and I think whispered, "What the hell". His face was too good not to photograph.
But the second go round felt much more successful. The day before I left I wandered off the F train through the streets looking for good opportunities. It sounds weird but they seem to present themselves.
The train stop at Ditmas... an old elevated platform with wood grain and shadows abounding...
An open door waiting for someone to come home...
A school bus waiting to pick up a load of lovely little people...
But then the Universe started throwing signs at me and it freaked me out a little bit. As I left the train station on this, the day before I was to leave New York, I glanced at the ground and found a sticker with my child's name on it...
Yep, that is his name. I laid down on the ground to take this picture, that is how much I wanted to see him.
Then as I walked down the street, approaching my destination (which happened to be an air-conditioned apartment which I was pretty desperate to reach by that time) I was cut off by an ambulette that stopped in my path to unload a passenger. Here is what cut me off...
So I took it as the Universe telling me I better get my ass home as there were some people who needed me more than Brooklyn needed hope notes. I heard you, O'Universe of wonderful signs.
(This kid was running fast down the street...he just looked so free and happy. Be-zeep.)
As a last note, I always feel weird when I do not have the twin thing happen with basically everything in life (when it comes to them) so I was antsy to find something to do with Owen. Later that night I sat on the fire escape looking out at the street below, the Brooklyn street so different than the City.
I always used to sit out on my fire escape because just a few hours inside make me feel a little breathless; even more so now 12 years later and 7 floors up. I looked up at the building across from me. And here is where I let you in on the crazy that is my brain...
I was looking at two windows with keystone accents. You know what a keystone is, right? The mark of a good mason. And centered right between the two keystones was a big white round O. The whole time my boys were with me, watching me from across the street.
Yes, it was good to find that part of Me that feels like she has not breathed for years and years. Yes, there were moments when I felt sweet relief to be sitting listening to loud music while scrolling through Twitter without any small persons demanding attention. Yes, I feel more whole than I have in a long time.
But, oh, how I felt dismembered at times during that week. And the Universe, well, she was just reminding me that I am not.
* and just to be totally clear, I scroll through Twitter and listen to loud music all the time at home it is just that the banshees like to interrupt that action. A lot.