It’s gotten to be the point in the year when I can’t leave work early enough not to walk home in the dark; I thought I would mind this, when I first moved, because my new neighborhood is less nice than my old one was, but the walk is shorter now and it turns out that it’s hard to be anxious about something so familiar. If I sneak out a few minutes early I can catch the last bit of sunset, which is always cold and red and spectacular, and make up the work in the morning.
In less than a month I’m making the big move, the uprooting everything cross-country kind, which means that I spend a lot of time now deciding what I will and won’t miss about life in this particular part of the northeast. I won’t miss how it gets dark early, definitely, or mid-winter slush and ice and windburn and the rattle of radiators, steam on the inside of windows. I will miss trains, specifically the MetroNorth NHV-GCT, and the miserable scenery they provide, the kind that always makes me grateful to be inside and warm and moving quickly along.
I will miss living in New Haven, that’s for sure: a town where there is only one cobbler and he works quick and cheap and gives me attitude about how awful I am with my things, where there are two good bars and one unbelievable burger and where I know the owners of the restaurants and the waitstaff at the coffeeshops and the teenage daughter who does her homework behind the counter at Zachary’s Package Store. It’s very life-sized, New Haven, or sized nicely to my life, anyway. In half an hour I can walk from my apartment to my boyfriend’s; I can bike it faster, and I know how to navigate the series of one way streets in the middle.
Now when I walk home I inevitably get caught at the intersection of Whitney and Edwards, waiting to cross; I peer down the slope of Whitney’s hill, the rows of streetlights descending. Then I take Hillside down and it’s mostly dark until you get to Marsh at the bottom, the greenhouses brilliant, white-hot and well lit all winter long. I know the man who runs them; I could stop in and say hi, if that was what I wanted to do.