Pieces | Blizzard Blues Souvenir
Breathe in, breathe out. The cold air hit my lungs as I was finally able to let that tension go that I was undeniably holding on to. Sassy and I were all bundled up in our nordic patterned wool hats and thick scarves that swallowed us whole. Blizzard Blues in the city that supposedly never sleeps! Here it was in deep slumber as we trotted through the snow in the middle of Fifth Avenue, with no traffic in sight. It was glorious, we felt like kids ready to make epic snow angels in the middle of the street in Manhattan. It felt wild.
Despite the fun, I had a heavy heart. My time in this glorious city has come to an end and I wasn’t ready to say goodbye just yet. Looking back, these past months felt like I had finally found myself. Where so much fear was reigning to a paralyzing degree, new bravery now ruled instead. This city wiggled its way into my heart, and made me bolder, more outspoken, and more alert. I didn’t suffer from debilitating panic attacks anymore, despite getting mugged once. My depression wasn’t greeting me as it did on a regular basis back home. I felt more at home here than I ever did where I was supposed to feel at home. Where I was told to stay small and let others shine, where I was always too much or never enough.
We finally arrived at the diner and I was taken out of my bluesy thoughts immediately when we stomped our boots heavily to get rid off extra snow and took off our warming layers on our way inside. The warmth and smell of fresh coffee welcomed us instantly as well as the well-known coffee murmur. I remember thinking the customers looked happy and content all marveling over the snow outside. Sassy led the way to a corner booth and as soon as we sat down still untangling our wool accessories, hot cinnamon coffee was poured into mismatched mugs right in front of us.
We both audibly sighed and took a sip looking out the window, where a new load of snow was falling onto the existing heaps everywhere. I deeply remember that joyous feeling washing over me despite my otherwise heavy heart. This moment was a reminder that both can exist at the same time. Being human is not a monolith experience, we are allowed to feel, to mull, to grief and experience joy despite of it too.
I loved mornings like this one with Sassy. She was one of those people I could just be with without feeling I have to entertain or lead the conversation. We could just sit in silence, enjoy our coffees and order food while watching the snow outside, joining the murmur. All is right in the world, I thought. Sassy quickly dug into her French Toast and hot compote while I was ravenous for my eggs and toast and a refill of cinnamon coffee. I guess we both didn’t realize how hungry we actually were. Walking in the cold followed by hot food sure zonks you out.
Bundled up again, we walked to SOHO, where Sassy said goodbye to take a nap and I took the train downtown. In all my time here I never walked across the bridge and today was as good as any day and I practically had it to myself. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye but also realized I don’t ultimately have to.
New York City does not welcome you with open arms And it won’t let go of you once you leave either
Those memories of the Blizzard Blues are also some of my little pockets of joy. Where everything seems possible despite the impossible and your new-found bravery and conviction prepares you for what’s to come. For many years after, I would return at least once a year. And even now, 16 years later, the grip it has on me never wavered, not once…
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(These are actual photos I took with my little camera the morning after the blizzard hit NYC in February 2006)