A Love Letter
I was born a blustery 3:35 am that February does so well in the heartbeat of New Haven. I was shuttled, days later, to the safety that the suburbs pride itself on with their quiet tree-lined avenues and white fences. I grew up in a town that seemed to be on the verge of bursting at its seams with pizza places and car dealerships. As a child, I was frightened of New Haven. The newspaper headlines seemed to be on a constant reel in my head like they were vintage Gene Tierney films. My father told me "Haven means a safe place". I tried to remember that as time went on.
As I grew up, there was a pull to New Haven. We were magnets, I just had yet to realize it. My first boyfriend and I rebelliously took the bus downtown. We went to Toads Place with a week's worth of saved up lunch money. We saw local, gritty bands and danced with youthful abandon. The bathrooms were dirty and the hallways were punctuated with framed photographs of famous musicians. This was a place I knew nothing about, but I wanted to know more.
Later in life, I fell in and out of what I thought was love on Highland Street. We'd trudge through blizzards to the closest bodega to get beer. In the morning we'd get bacon, egg and cheeses at Nika's Market. I was often bleary eyed and drunk those days. Your late twenties can be a strange and often dark place.
I wore flower crowns to the Wooster Square Cherry Blossom festivals taking picture after picture to capture all the delicate beauty. I couldn't help but fall in love with brownstones in the background - imagining who lived there and what they did for a living, who they loved, what made their eyes sparkle. I do that anytime I'm in a city. New Haven, my little city.
I kissed a man with dreaded hair and wild eyes one summer. We had too many blue moons and I had a blue dress on. We later moved a couple streets over and I painted my office a shade called "Apricot Ice". We fell in love and got married in another state. When we came home, we handed out candy to the sometimes quiet, sometimes reckless streets of Fair Haven.
I've had breakfast on the water at the Boathouse. I've had the famous pizza. Oh, I've had the . With mashed potatoes. With Hot oil. With crushed red pepper.
I was 21 in downtown New Haven, all the clubs looking so sparkly and loud like the clinking of champagne glasses on New Year's Eve.
I've hiked East Rock, trying to make sure I spend time there when the days are clinging vibrantly to the Autumn. When the leaves are on fire. When you start to realize another year is passing you by so heartachingly fast
I was born in New Haven. I fell in love in New Haven. I've ate and laughed and spent hours in her galleries and coffeeshops and boutiques but I could never ever claim her as mine. This is my love letter to her, to New Haven. She is mine and I am hers. We are magnets. We always have been.