This was written in response to a number of essays about leaving New York, including “New York Doesn’t Love You.”
The most abusive relationship I’ve ever been in has been with New York City.
I love you.
You gave me ringworm. Fucking ringworm!
It’s OK. I forgive you.
You stole my savings.
But you brought me flowers? All good.
You killed my friend’s husband! WTF?
Oh, you’re sorry? OK I love you!
You destroyed the city with a storm? What’s wrong with you?!
OK, let’s clean it up together.
You stink! Take a shower.
No response? Yeah, you know you smell!
The first winter was fantastic. We spent January and February walking hand in hand through Central Park. It felt like our own secret place. Empire State of Mind played on repeat in our heads. We were so in love that it didn’t matter that we lived in a tiny room and had two roommates who didn’t buy toilet paper and kept rotting food in the packed refrigerator.
That summer I started noticing that things weren’t so perfect. I got a nasty rash surfing in the ocean. But it was OK I just wore pants and long sleeves in the 100 degree heat. No big deal. We were still good. I also noticed that you are a loud sleeper, but that’s what earplugs are for.
When Superstorm Sandy hit. New York, you abandoned me. Suddenly I was left with a slowly leaking air mattress on the floor of an apartment with no light.
But New York , you came back. We rolled up our sleeves and cleaned it up together. Things were good again. We started taking day trips and going fun places again. It was like the honeymoon phase again.
Until it wasn’t. I was alone again. My skin was inflamed. I checked my savings account and wondered who stole all my money and bolted.
I cheated on you. Twice. I went back to an old love. I’m not proud of it, but there were still feelings. Strong feelings. I woke up in the middle of the night thinking I was so glad not to be with you anymore. Only, after a few minutes, I remembered that it was still Candace + New York.
I pushed the thought out of my mind, pretending the Broadway shows, pizza and runs along the Hudson River were enough.
Then I had a medical problem and you weren’t there for me. I don’t think I’ll ever forgive you for that.
New York, you’ll never love me the way I deserve to be loved.
Yet I can’t stop loving you.