we reached a crashing point on emotion at Precisely (as the British Rail Talking Clock voice used to say with a Crisp and Firm diction and nary a smile) eighteen hundred hours (and a half hour for the extra sigh).
but you are going to be missed!
Not sure I can – I need to tell you how much you’ll be missed.
stop. right. now.
and we got tearful (eek) in the cinema in times square (don’t ask – the movie was dreadful and why we agreed to Times Square on a SATURDAY is beyond comprehension – it fit in with dinner plans and a reservation and a sense of giving-up-control-for-once).
yesterday saw us (WHY?) saying goodbye to three very important people in our east coast life (ON THE SAME DAY?) and it all got too much at 6pm in Times Square.
this could have been the reason for the underlying collapse in any sort of keepingItTogether stiff-upper-lip (the bottom lip definitely trembled).
we had to change our address for the immigration services (we’ve got temporary living-residency-status still on the east coast and officially will be going Back and Forth and probably in Reality too as some consultancy for who-we-are-in-RL has emerged – as well as the work we are Already Doing right now).
and it always Hits us right between the Eyes.
the word ALIEN.
you see – we’ve never known if we could stay Here.
if we’re being Honest (and why not, tis So Refreshing and Freeing).
in many places.
shall we explain?
there was the simple matter of a younger sibling being born and there was not a great deal of cash and we thought there was only room for one child so we ran away from home for the first time (age 7).
the ensuing panic and trauma did not convince us that explanations were always Helpful.
but – you know – shone light on with a more grown-up and kindly eye – and all is well (yes, we lie).
and then the Boarding Schools (two of them) and the matter of being a Scholarship Girl (we had 4 scholarships by the last one, age 16 – and didn’t tell a soul until the letters were printed after our name in the Roll Call distributed on day 1 to Everyone – the shame – and now – the pride at having been That Clever) and having to OverAchieve (constantly – always tiring – for us and those around us) and never quite knowing if one would be “Invited Back” the next Term (michaelmas, trinity……..beautiful words).
let’s see (as we’re being totally honest – did you have breakfast? or at least a cup of tea to hand? we’re sipping coffee and Typing Fast, darlings).
various relationships where one was the lesser (in our eyes) status (economically, status, other things perhaps – but this is all good territory that has been Explored and examined and laid to rest).
during our years as a Journalist – going to the French Embassy (we had a French passport at the time – a story for another place – rather complicated parentage) and being told we would not be given another one.
walking out of the embassy – Stateless.
(the rules had changed on immigration and children-of-non-residents – complicated and heart-breaking and confusing).
we waited for (a year? no moleskine journal-keeping in those days).
many people Wrote Letters.
we (finally) got a British Passport.
then the USA.
almost 12 years: visas, more visas, losing visas, getting visas, new jobs, green card application – waiting waiting waiting waiting – and still we wait (although apparently we are in “Initial Review” which is terrifying and yet hopeful at the same time).
but if you follow the line of reasoning carefully (and there’s probably more, we’re just giving you the highlights and god-bless-you-for-reading-thus-far)……..We Chose All Those Situations.
we chose to be in all those places where we didn’t know if we could stay or felt less than or uneasy of status.
all. of. them.
we COULD have waited to see what happened on the next episode of EastEnders and had a somewhat quiet life.
but. we. didn’t.
we’ve had a HUGE life thus far.
and long may it continue.
so, yesterday, we updated our east coast address with the Alien Registration online and Fell Apart and went to have lunch with a dear friend and tried to hold it all in.
and failed by 6 O’Clock.
we took flowers to the second meeting (for tea on the upper west side).
flowers are always such a Kind Companion, non?
and then there was the matter of walking almost two miles (why?) from 91st and amsterdam (lunch with C) to 73rd and broadway (tea with Kc) to columbus circle (to swim) to Times Square (movies with NMP) and then the subway (why??) to supper uptown (very nice but rather overwrought with feeling by that point and trying to submerge aforementioned feelings with the bread basket – sigh).
it’s 08.37am on sunday morning.
just the sound of hissing pipes in the walls to bring steam heat and a sip of coffee and a siren screams past and footsteps, someone on the way to buy a newspaper perhaps, or milk, and we sit here talking to you, in the blue-blue-noel-coward-dressing gown and prepare to get up and shower and apply mascara (just a smidge)…..
……and take a train from grand central station to connecticut.
train journeys solve all bruised hearts.
as will toast in front of the telly with a doctor who episode and a deep talk over the papers while waiting for the tea to brew.
thank you JW1.
we shall arrive on the 12.02 Precisely.