This past weekend I met an old friend that I have not seen in 15 years in a city I have never explored more than a megabus layover.
I pulled into the New York City on a greyhound bus around eight on a Friday night, and my friend M met me at Port Authority. We texted each other what color clothes we were wearing, and what we looked like, just in case we didn’t recognize our 27 year old selves from our 12 year old selves. And it’s a good thing we did that, because we definitely were not confident that we had found the right person at first!
Once we both established that we were, in fact, the person that we had planned to meet, we left Port Authority together talking a mile a minute, and M navigated me through the busy NYC subway system in the direction of my hostel for the night. We talked about writing, about jobs, about social justice, about art, about defying expectations of ourselves. It was great, we spoke to one another with the same ease that we must have when we were 12! It just goes to show that we all change a lot in life, but maybe we’re never really far from that little kid we used to be.
We made it to the hostel- someplace in Manhattan- around 8:30, and I settled into my room while continuing my reunion with M.
I was sweating after hiking over the city on the bus with a coat and backpack in tow, and it didn’t help that the hostel was like 80 degrees. After I got all my stuff settled and my backpack secured in a locker, we hit the town in search of some drinks to cool us down.
We ended up at a cute little bar named the Lion’s Head Tavern. I bought the first round, and we discussed the past 15 years of our lives, as well as the first 12 that we had in common. I got a big greasy quesadilla for dinner, and M got a plate of fries. We finished our first beer quickly, and M went to buy the second round, which turned out to be a healthy sized pitcher.
Later that night, M dropped me off at the hostel, but said that next time I come I should really stay at her place. I told her I would, I just didn’t want to bank of the reunion going as well as it was going without a backup.
The next morning I had coffee and bagels at my hostel- put on a few extra layers of deodorant instead of taking a shower (some hostel showers you can trust, and some you would rather not. This was one of the rather nots), and met M around eleven outside my hostel. She took me downtown to the Strand bookstore, to the Big Gay Icecream shop, to a section of a Barnes and Nobles that she thought I would like, and then we headed to a Mediterranean place for lunch. We talked about books and writing constantly for hours and hours, and then finally had to start making our way back to Port Authority for me to catch my bus again. We posted up in a Starbucks while we waited for the bus, and did tarot cards while we drank coffee. Then my bus came, we hugged and promised to make sure it wasn’t another 15 years before we saw each other again, and I headed back to Syracuse.
Earlier that week I had done some other traveling in New York which doesn’t really fit into this story, but thought I would add on because they were cool traveling experiences:
I drove to Batavia- a few hours away from where I live- to attend a protest with a local group supporting immigrants, especially raising the voices of immigrant women. We were there to protest the detainment of community members at the immigrant detention center there.
I drove to Buffalo, NY (right on the border with Canada) for the day on a whim and got a beer on Allen Street. It was a cool city, with cool vibes.
Though still very cold and snowing.
Before I left Buffalo, I stopped for a little springtime jaunt by the lake, and had a beautiful moment with the spring time snow, and the creatures that thrive in it.
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