We're in Austin for Thanksgiving with my family.
Something feels off.
It's not that Marie's here - it feels natural that she's here with me. Things have been good with us of late. I don't feel like danger is lurking around the corner with us anymore. Things are good. Maybe it's the fact that neither of us have had anything to drink in over a month? Or maybe it's that we're finally beginning to settle in with each other and trust this thing after a turbulent and challenging year for both of us? Whatever it is, it feels more natural to be with her than it does to be back in Austin.
Austin feels a little bit like a dream, like a dream that will always be here if I decide that I want to fall back to sleep and get lost again in its easy rhythms...
It's a cool bright afternoon on 6th Street. We go to a film at the Alamo Drafthouse. The theater's been converted from the bar and music venue where I used to spend a lot of my time drinking and drifting.
We step out into the fading rays of the day after the show. The three or four blocks of bars is empty as we walk towards one of my old haunts. I spent ten years in and out of the vibrancy and commotion of this stretch of bars, tattoo shops and music venues. I search for the connection with my former self in the memories as I scan the street. Marie senses my digging through the past. She puts her arm around my waist to comfort me as Jay-Z's New York Anthem spills out of the open door of a bar knocking my thoughts from my past life to the present and future one.
Marie turns to look at me.
New York is calling out to me letting me know it's where I need to be.
A few days later I'm driving through the cloudy damp Austin day, passing buildings and streets that trigger flashbacks... reflecting... searching again for who I am through the past landscape unraveling in my mind. There's a disconnect between the reminiscence and gray scenery that spreads out towards the downtown skyline - unattached - as Jay-Z's New York anthem comes on again snapping me out of the dissolution:
"In New York,
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There's nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
Big lights will inspire you,
Lets hear it for New York, New York, New York"
I smile as the past fades away.
The universe is trying to tell me something.
Now I'm New York...