The last time we met was March 8, 2020. I sat with you and ate a sandwich, a pear, and a chocolate bar that I brought from home. I crumbled some bread for the pigeons who flocked nearby. They never change. You were quieter than usual that day and didn’t chatter. Indeed, you barely spoke. I didn’t mind. I’m more of an introvert than you have ever been. Although you are older than me, we did grow up together, and we tried on many selves before we became who we are now. I knew you at every step of the way, and you knew me. Sometimes I left you in a fit of rage or pique, and sometimes you left me in search of someone or something new, but we always returned to each other.
I wasn’t especially worried by your silence that day, but I should have been. I should have realized it was most likely the last day I would see you, and our mutual friends, for a very long time. As you know, one of our dearest friends is 96 years old, and although she is in good health and continues to practice piano for an hour each morning, she is still 96. I tease her that her Carnegie Hall debut will take place in 2070 and that she must keep preparing for it. I like to believe that miracles still happen.
I think you know that I had a lovely day. The weather was cool but sunny, and the wind was light. My lunch tased so good in the fresh air. At the concert, my view was unobstructed, and I was delighted to finally hear in person the music I had heard only on recordings. Even the line to the bathroom moved quickly during intermission. On the bus ride home, I listened to music on my phone and thought again of the day, and of you, with gratitude and love.
I’m home now, as we all are. I miss you. I hope to see you again someday. I hope I will recognize you, and I hope you will recognize me. Until we can be together again, my city, please take care.
Born and raised in NYC, Ann Calandro is a medical editor, writer, mixed media collage artist, and classical piano student. Visit www.anncalandro.webs.com to see her artwork.