lonely in a city of millions

Often, when I'm walking around New York, I come across something I want to share with my brother, G. He would have loved spending time with us here. There are so many things we'd have done here together. I would have taken him to Small's, the legendary jazz club. I would have taken him to Joe's and John's, the two best pizza places - and I guarantee he'd have argued with me over which was better. He would have loved to ride the Cyclone with me in Coney Island. It is often some sort of cultural thing like that I wish I could share with him.

But it's just as likely to be something much less noticable. For instance, the vintage t-shirt shop I passed in the West Village a few weeks ago. G loved t-shirts. Classic rock band t-shirts leftover from the 70s or 80s. Funny sayings or logos. Souvenirs from various locations, from trips or activities. He loved them. I would have hit the jackpot for him in there.

I didn't go in.

I couldn't bring myself to face what could have been. I couldn't face all the people casually shopping, laughing, enjoying themselves. It would have been too lonely, too isolating.

Occasionally, in this city of eight million, I feel completely alone.

9 comments:

mo*reezy said...

Oh, I just love you so much. I can't know how you feel, but I do know that I miss him, too. I didn't know that about the T-shirts. The little things are what get you - I have this post-it on my desk with his address on it that I cannot take off or get rid of. I've reached for it a bunch of times and I just can't do it. It may not be much consolation, but I really believe that he is with you - every time you think about him, he's there.

Elena said...

G was such a wonderful and unique person, and if it helps even the smallest bit, I think the legacy that he left here is just that. I'm confident that Maresi is right- he's there with you all the time. I know it isn't like having him there to talk with, or to share things with, but I know he's with you when you need him.

I wish I could say or do something to help you with your pain, but just know that I think of you, your parents, and G all the time. Also, I'm glad you're writing about it. You shouldn't have to keep it all inside, and it reminds your readers of just how special he was.

Cass said...

besides bringing up so many memories of someone lost, new york can be a lonely place just by itself! so many people, but so quickly moving around. i feel the same thing all the time. even us, just living a few trains away, can seem like such a giant space (especially with things like flooded subways or taxi strikes!) it's an utterly amazing city...but can be exhausting....

Anonymous said...

When you lose a loved one, the emptiness in your heart is so painful, it is virtually a physical ache because in essence you give a part of your heart to that "loved someone." They occupy that space within you when they're with you — and when they're gone, there is absolutely nothing that can fill the void. That particular love can never, ever be replicated again, by anyone. There is no substitute for a truly loved person. You feel like a part of you has died; indeed, they have taken it with them. In my opinion, and from experience, there is only so much you can do. This is not something that goes away. I can't tell you that I never cry anymore. I can't tell you that I don't stumble upon someone's blog and cry when I recognize their feelings. I can't tell you I don't want to get out of bed sometimes. I can tell you, though, I have found comfort in doing things I know would've made my lost love proud. He was involved in government; I have taken his place to keep his legacy alive. Morbid, maybe, but it's doing something positive with my grief for him. When I'm immersed in something that is so "him," it is a comfort rather than something that is upsetting, believe it or not. It sounds like a huge feat, but just think of something that keeps him alive TO YOU, not the whole world. You don't need to start a charity — maybe just a t-shirt collection.

anna said...

I have the same problem as Maresi. I have a file on my computer where I copied his address when you emailed it to me, and I just can't get rid of it. I don't want to.

I never even wrote to him, that's the worst part. I have a letter I started and I could never finish it. Can't get rid of that, either.

And again, this may not be much consolation, but you're not the only one thinking of him. As much as you are my sister, I always thought of him as my brother, and countless times I've stopped and thought of him - when Richie Havens comes on the radio, when I watch Monty Python, when I walk by the refrigerator and see the picture of him there. There are so many reminders, for all of us that knew him, and you may feel alone, but you aren't. Ever. Pick up the phone and call me next time. I'll be here.

liz said...

Oh, Amy, I'm so sorry. I once had a complete meltdown in Target at the sight of Garbage Pail Kids bubble gum, which my brother and I enjoyed when we were kids, so I can empathize. Hang in there and know that however often it feels like it, you are not alone.

I still owe you an e-mail! Talk with you soon...

Peter said...

Amy, I think of him all the time also. Like when I am mowing Gram's lawn, I think of him and all the things we did and went through together. (while not as numerous as the times he spent with you, still vivid in my head)

His face is burned into my eyes as I walk in solitude behind the mower, just me, the grass and Gregory.

Anonymous said...

You are such a sweetheart and so was he. I've got his address stuck on my Amazon account. I tried to edit it out, as a way of facing reality and Amazon wouldn't let me. Perhaps Amazon's software engineers know more about reality than I do. What really amazed me when G died was the humongous outpouring of love from friends and family. That was reflecting his love and potential. I focus on that love to ease the grief. Feel the pain, share it. We're listening. Remember the love. And trust that healing happens.
Love, Jeanne

Anonymous said...

I always think of G when I have students in school who remind me of him. I know he didn't love school and school work, and it helps to remember him when I've got a student who is like him. I try to take an extra second to help rather than move on to the next kid. He was so fun to be around, and I have to remember that side exists to those students too!
--Love, Kat

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