ghosts and empty shells

i walked by a restaurant, now boarded up. i remember getting drinks with a friend there about two years ago and i remember eating dinner there with my dad in the fall of 2016. it is where i implored him to "vote for my uterus". i am pretty sure an ex and i ate there once too, but honestly i can't tell if i am making the memory up or not. anyway, now it is boarded up and i pass it with a hint of sadness as i walk to another restaurant.

another place that holds memories...gone.

this is not new. those of us city dwellers experience this on the daily. in the last month, two convenient coffee shops have been closed. i learned this as i ran to them before meetings and realized i would have to go matcha latte-less (i know, i know). i hadn't realized that these places had become routine, but they had and now they are gone. the starbucks i frequented when i did a summer program in union square at age 15 was also the starbucks i cried in in sept 2015 and it is now a make-up store. but the tapas place that tried to kill me by failing to alert me to the hazelnuts in one dish, even though i asked if there were nuts, is still there. the waitress who felt so bad about it though...i think she has left. 

i've been thinking a lot about loss and losing. about ghosts and empty shells. i've been thinking about how places and people leave unexpectedly or they slowly disappear. the grocery store on my block, the chase bank that moved across the street...the place across the street that was a deli when my cousin lived here, but is now a mexican restaurant that may have actually been closed because i haven't seen it open in a while...gone, but not gone. ghosts on street corners. shells that will never be what they were.

like friendships and relationships.

i've been looking at friends and wondering if they will be in my life forever. wondering if the closeness i feel with them will be sustained. i think of friends who were once my soulmates and are now people i care for, but never talk to. a like. a FB bday message. a run thru their instagram. i know their kids' names or know they just moved, but not much else. and its okay, of course, because life moves on and we pick up folks along the way. folks who get us and folks who hurt us and folks that become family. 

last night i chatted with an old friend that i am visiting next month. we talked about the closeness we still feel despite the time and space between us. i think to myself, yes, she will be here and then think of others i can't say that confidently about.

there is family i don't really speak to. i wonder if that will ever change. i worry that it won't but haven't done anything to fix it.

i think it is weird that there are people out there that know so much about me, or me at a certain moment, and i know so much about them, or them at a certain moment, and yet we are essentially ghosts to one another.

i think of the men i've loved or thought i could love. i think of the ones i may never speak to or see again. i think of the one who likes an instagram photo once a year. i think of the one i still consider a close friend though we never talk and may never actually be actual friends again. i think of the ones that used to mean so much to me, but i never think about now. i think of my yearning for love, for partnership and the fear that the eyes that are looking for this love, seeking this love out are actually just looking for someone who will one day be on this list of people and places that used to be ours and that used to know us so well and that used to be our soulmates but will one day just be a person you hope you don't run into on the subway.

i guess what i am saying is that it is amazing to me how we keep going. how we find new hangout spots and brunch places. how we find new neighborhoods and new baristas to have crushes on. how we find and make new friends and new lovers and new connections. sometimes i am so scared of eventually losing a place or a person that i don't even want to enjoy them while they're here. i am amazed every time i work past that fear or that fear disappears. i am amazed how we go into it, eyes and hearts open. or we try to. we try to forget what could happen and try to just enjoy what's in front of us. and thank the heavens that we do. thank the heavens that we feel the losses, but yearn for the new connections. thank goodness for the present moment, for the moments when these places and people are just...there.

on friday i walked with a new friend. we passed by a place i used to love to go to when i was a teen and in my early twenties. many a friend and a love and a family member went there with me. and now it is something else. something new. people went in and out of it. my friend and i just walked on by. we got gelato at a place i've never been to before. and we sat at a familiar place, but in a new location for me. and i didn't worry about closings or losses or ghosts.