It’s May now. All of New York looks like this, and it seems to me that I can’t remember a springtime this lush. The city has literally exploded into a rhapsody of green. It’s lusher than the Japan I left, but probably not as green as it is in Ireland right now, where Sean is.
I said goodbye to Sean last night, after 2 years of being fellow expatriates and 34 days of ceaseless globe trotting. We were in Malaysia. We were in Vietnam. We were even in Guatemala, attending my cousin’s wedding – a giant hog roast held on a coffee plantation, replete with mariachi music and salsa dancing until nightfall. We were covered in bug bites from 3 different countries. I was slightly brown, he was covered in scores of new freckles. If you ever want to see an Irishman squirm, take him to a Muslim country where it’s 32 degrees outside. If you ever want to see an Irishman suffer, take him to a Latin American country where greetings are not handshakes, but lavish rains of kisses upon the cheek. Admittedly, the cheek kissing was strange to us both, coming, as we had, from 2 years of stiff bows. Even if I have visited Guatemala about once every two years my entire life, I’m a handshake girl. Always have been. My cousins used to tell me I was “cold.” Now, their children’s friends were mystified by the spectre of Sean, who dodged kisses and extended his hand.
He left yesterday evening. We have a vague idea but don’t know exactly when we’ll see each other again. Of all the goodbyes over the past month, this was the hardest. Not a bow moment. Not a handshake moment. Among other things, it was a “bird” moment – as he disappeared through customs, we flipped each other the bird; from him, the pansy British two-fingered salute and from me, the “real” one-fingered classic.
And then my best friend for the past 2 years was gone.
Not forever. You’ll see. But for now. And that hurts.
Everywhere, everywhere is green now – fresh with life, possibilities, and soaked in rain so I believe it will only get more wild over here in the concrete jungle of New York.