When a person grows up moving, motion becomes an appropriate response to almost anything. I've always carried that farther than most--up until now when I felt restless, I moved to another continent.
Age brings many realizations to slow me down a little--among them, the importance of being near people I love, because life is finite. So now when I feel as though it's time to break the bonds of inertia, I look for a new neighborhood, not a new country or even a new time zone.
A person in my hallway has made my apartment a noisy little corner of hell over the past few months, erupting into bad music and loud shouts right around the time that the moon grows full. His last outburst was more upsetting than usual and I began to mutter "Who needs this shit?" as his noise kept me awake over a period of several nights.
Yesterday I went out to look at other places to live. The more I looked, the more I realized I like where I am. It's been a long time settling in, what with the bedbug invasion and a year without furniture--but what's kept me here is the sweep of sky that I see every time I look up from my computer.
I grew up with open sky all around me. It's what I missed most when I lived in Manhattan. When I can't see clouds and space and light, I begin to shrivel.
And I love what I see when I'm out on the street where I live--kick-ass old ladies who own the sidewalk that they inch down in their walkers, little girls who always sport pink clothing and know they are beautiful, men and women speaking languages that are out of Africa, an occasional raccoon in the very early morning. Of all the neighborhoods in this city, this one is mine.
So is my odd little efficiency apartment that is finally comfortable and filled with the bright colors that the cloud-filled sky makes me hungry for. It's warm, it's infused with light from two compass points, it's patrolled by seagulls every morning, and when I open the window, I can often smell the fragrance of freshly baked cakes or roasted pig.
If anybody moves from this building, I've decided, it's not going to be me.