Tuesday, 14 July 2015

The Last Yellow Taxi

new york imageIt was one last trip, and it was locked in silence. The wind forced it's way through a cracked window, and I held my hands around one last cup of coffee. I was drinking it black, an uncharacteristic move due to a sharp nervousness in my stomach. It was although my body was preparing for me to pull the pin from the grenade, it felt as though everything I had known before had vanished in smog. We had taken one last taxi ride, encouraged by the misfortune that my suitcase had lost it's unruly wheels- which made the train seem like a disastrous idea.

I left New York on a cloudless afternoon on January 5th 2013, and everything was magnified beneath the snappy winter sunlight. After eight days of adventures and shameless parade, it was like I had been restored to my old self again. This trip was like my grand finale of my twenty second year. I could not shut off the voice that told me, "Everything is going to matter now." I knew that this goodbye would last longer than the rest.

I had graduated six months before, and had darted around between frivolities and dangerous strangers with too much to say and too few cares to give. I knew it was time to grow up, and accept that this little queen bee was a ruler no more. She was playing with big kids now, and there were no rehearsals for the present. The friend I traveled with is now a stranger to me, and so another chapter ended while others turned their page.

I had spent New Years Eve at the top of the Empire State Building, and my phone felt like ice in my hands as messages poured through from people I loved, and people I didn't. The first message came from Rhys, as he worked away behind an old cocoa coloured bar back in Cardiff. Although we were both technically single at this time, this was the point where I considered myself taken. Despite jammed phone lines and the delay of three thousand, three hundred and eighty eight miles, he was the first to speak to me that night.
winter in new york image, brooklyn photoSometimes I miss the amber rust of fire escapes and shadows in box windows, and sometimes I miss the bravery that found me as easy as oxygen. I remember it all too well, the sapphire lights tangled in burnt chestnut branches and ice crystals caught in the knots of the my honey highlights. I remember the Yankee twang of "Happy New Year", and the smell of Little Italy. I would watch the charged armies of cold hands and berets, and would enlist as a soldier.
winter in new york imageThe drive was swift and out of focus. NY1 was looped through the in car screens but it was inaudible to me, recalled only by the distant hum in my ears. I don't remember the driver, or any words that left my mouth except for a thank you. I only remember a blur of acceptance and blue skies. I had a lot of ugly truths to face at home, and this was my only solace. I took in a breath of the chill as my life refreshed.
new york city image
I'm probably in the minority, but I love hailing cabs in Manhattan. Finding a cab instantly is one of life's true little victories, and I dare you to ignore me when I try and catch your attention. I had no fear of unfamiliar streets or faces, and no fear of standing in the busy street to get a cab quickly. But I didn't hail that last one.

Looking up from my little toy car, a white plane seemed so small in the distance. New York had a habit of shrinking the things in it, except for me. It was filled with ghosts, and homeless faces haunted within doorframes while lonely people floated between busy subway stations. I remember the ugliness and paranoia of the city, but I remember something feeling like home.
brooklyn bridge image
For one last time, I looked back at where I had once been and the skyline of a silver metropolis had never looked so enchanting, and lonely. The cab halted abruptly, and I grabbed my suitcase from the back of the car, with the pink Christmas ribbons still tied in a perfect bow.

I said goodbye, and I toast to the town.
It said, come back to me.