When I was a kid and leaving a city like New York, I never thought about when I would be returning. Even when I left it "for good," (not really, but I should have believed it) I looked more at the place where I was next going, than at the place from which I was bailing out.
I’m leaving the city in the rain. A March rain – wet, trashy, sticky, cold, the kind that will cling to whatever you expose to it – coat, face, shoe.
When I was very young here, in New York, I never noticed the rain.
Late last night, the train pulled into Grand Central around midnight. It had been sunny in Connecticut. It was raining in the city. The train was crowded. It is always crowded. Who is returning on a Sunday night to the city by train?
Heads bent low, gray masses, pushing toward the exit, like in the movies: dark times, people moving rapidly and purposefully, pushing their belongings onto a train, leaving troubled cities. Only here, they are returning to a city, a closed up for the night city, where it’s damp, dark, with no welcoming noises, no bright flashing lights at all, just a few cabs pulling up.
And still, these images notwithstanding, I love trains now as much as I did forty years ago.
Mondays in New York are especially brutal. Museums close, businesses open for another week of work – who can be smitten with a Monday? Good Monday morning! That’s our Madison weather man, faking it every week. Sorry, Charlie, can’t trust that day…