A few days ago, I started watching a new TV show called Search Party. The concept of the show is generally irrelevant — some girl goes missing and Maeby from Arrested Development fumbles around NYC trying to find her, like Nancy Drew with an iPhone. She's beautiful and wide-eyed and has a cohort of self-absorbed, hipster friends, and everyone is the definition of "entitled millennial" but it's tragic and hilarious because that's exactly what everyone under 30 in New York City is like. The plot itself is enough to keep me amused, but I'm really watching because I can't stop thinking about my real life...my old life...when I watch it.
There's one scene in particular that was literally filmed outside of my apartment building, in the bagel shop across the street. My last meal in NYC, that I scarfed on the way to the airport, was a bagel with schmear and lox from Daniel's Bagels. This show has like 5 minutes of footage in Daniel's Bagels, and when I looked past the characters and through the windows, I could see myself walking my dog back and forth, back and forth, every day for eight years.
The footage of meetings in a windowed high rise, I was there too. And buying a Kind bar and a six pack in the bodega outside of Thompson Square Park. On the subway, running into someone I know. Walking up uneven stairs to a friend's dinner party. Fighting on the sidewalk. Eating very good soup at a nameless diner. Draping a tailored coat over my shoulders to go into a chilly night. The cocktail bars. Brunch. Rooftops. Surrounded by people but entirely alone. Every day, for eight years, I was there.
Watching this is like stumbling across forgotten photographs of an old lover. But it's too soon to look at them. Not enough time has passed. We haven't figured out who we are without each other yet. We don't know what it is to be separated. We were distracted in the beginning because everything was new and everything was different and everything was extraordinary and the possibilities were unending but now you're on the other side of the world and I'm here and you're there and things will never be the same. And I don't know where I'm going but I know you can't come with me. And I don't know where you're going but I know I can't go with you. That's all I know for sure. I don't know much at all anymore.