“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”
Waking up in my New York City apartment the other morning after a blissful several weeks on Cape Cod, I felt like Dorothy waking up in Kansas after a long, delicious dream. Everything was back to black and white. And as my eyes adjusted to the smaller bedroom, it took me a few seconds to remember where I was.
I got out of bed and looked out the window. Instead of seeing green grass, trees and robins snacking at the bird feeder, I saw rows of buildings, water towers sprinkled on top with a clear view of my neighbor who never bothers to close his blinds nor put on clothing.
While preparing breakfast I thought of what had become my summer morning ritual – walking into the kitchen to find my parents seated at the table, sections of the Wall Street Journal spread out like seashells, hearing them say, “Good morning” to me as I made a peanut and banana sandwich and laced up my bike shoes. That routine was gone. Long gone.
I left my apartment and headed south, 30 blocks to work. Traffic and construction were already at ear splitting decibels and it wasn’t even 8 a.m. Walking down 9th Avenue I pictured the Cape Cod Canal where I’d biked almost every day and could still see the water at my side, seagulls gliding overhead. But that image was quickly erased as I was brought back down to reality having to step over a pinkish pile of someone’s dinner from the night before splattered on the sidewalk, dirty pigeons fighting to get a bite.
In a storefront window I caught my reflection. Black shirt and jeans; an ensemble I hadn’t worn in weeks. I thought of my colorful shorts, the ones with the red lobsters on them, neatly folded and put away for the season. I looked at my hair, blown out and pulled back, the soft curls replaced with the more sophisticated city style. Then there was the one accessory I hadn’t worn since before the Fourth of July – my New York City mask. Part scowl/part “Don’t even think about messing with me,” it’s one of the first things I put on in the morning and the last thing to come off at night. Then I laughed. I was back in the Big Apple. There’s no place like home.