It was close to the end, on a slow moving Friday, that I decided to leave on a train for Connecticut to spend the weekend. It was a decision I’d made quickly earlier that same day while at work, and the location I had decided upon just as quickly after briefly looking on a map: a small town near the coast, chosen for its inexpensive hotels, its convenience of transportation, and its distance away from the things troubling me in New York.
Once the plan was made, the next few hours dripped by as I watched the clock hands move. I ended up walking out of work ten minutes earlier than I should have that day, flying up Broad Street with such haste that I clipped the sides of several unsuspecting bystanders who looked to me with surprise, but I didn’t care what they thought of me nor did I slow my pace until I was outside my apartment, where I stood for a few seconds with my hand on the door before unlocking and pushing it open in one quick motion: everything lay quiet and untouched, private and still – no one was home yet. I walked around the apartment grabbing things – a few items of clothing from the white dresser by our bed, my electric toothbrush, three of my most well-worn books from the bookshelf – then threw them all into my bag and left for the subway to the train station as fast I could walk.
Grand Central was more grand and more beautiful than I remembered. The last time I was there he was with me and we’d run through a long echoing terminal so that we wouldn’t miss our train to the beach, my summer sandals slapping smartly against the grey stone floor.
That Friday, I was alone, though still in a rush, but for different reasons now. I looked for the booth with the shortest line and bought my ticket from a woman whose quick words and efficient movements eased my restlessness and impatience.
The earliest departure time left me with more than an hour to kill, but I had a train ticket in my back pocket now, a bag of comforts by my side, and the promise of a weekend all to myself ahead, and these things, too, were calming. I found an empty bench off to the side of a walkway and sat against the marble wall for a long time watching people walk by in clusters and groups, alone, in twos and threes, to and from the gates and shops and restaurants. Then I read until it was time to leave. Right before boarding, I took out my phone and composed three versions of the same text to him, then deleted them all and wrote simply that I would be gone for the weekend. >> Continue reading..