I shit you not.

I know I'll regret saying this one day, but: I'm really good at finding parking in Brooklyn.

It makes it hard to leave. (I suppose family and friends do, too.)

But I had to go: I had people to see for the first time in years, and Pittsburgh was a solid day's drive away.

I dragged my suitcase and bag through the short stretch of leafy Park Slope blocks to my car. As I loaded my bags, I paused to admire the waste laid to my windshield by the pterodactyl I'd apparently parked underneath.

Oh, who knows what you'll find in New York?

I didn't have time to ponder the megafauna that mega-unloaded on my car., though I do get nostalgic for New York before I leave it. The last few days prickled my skin as I pulled away.

Seeing stellar stand-up comedy with a new friend. Heckling dogs and kicking up our feet to fend off the rats in Washington Square Park with old friends. Photobombing tourists on my morning jogs along the Brooklyn Bridge. Delighting bystanding tourists by photobombing tourists on my morning jogs along the Brooklyn Bridge. Finding a $7,000 Angel Sanchez beaded shift for $60 and buying the hell out of that thing. (Take me to dinner?)

George Washington Bridge. George Washington, Washington Bridge.

It's hard to leave New York but it's harder still to not see what's around the bend.

Lehigh Valley is beautiful, and if Pennsylvania didn't have such brutal winters I'd probably call it home.

Everyone should drive through Pennsylvania at least once, end-to-end. The mountains, valleys, crags, waterfalls, and greenery give it an ancient Black Forest feel. It's a hard land that teems with life and growth. It doesn't need us: we are inconsequential. Pennsylvania's badass.

I drove through the state in a strange state of my own, stunned by the scenery and the sudden 180 of a man I'd met in Kansas City a week before and then was no more.

No matter. I stopped somewhere bucolic to buy Hershey bars (when in Rome, i.e. Hershey) and chocolate chip cookies for my sweet hosts in Pittsburgh: a woman I used to dance flamenco with in Atlanta, and her small family.

I pulled up to their apartment at night, and it was raining hard enough to make a difference in how quickly I got my shit out of my car.

When I looked up, straining my eyes to see the house number through the dark and rain, I was greeted by the familiar feeling of not knowing what I'd walk into at the top of the stairs, and not wanting to waste another second to find out.

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© 2018 Rachel Trignano