It’s 1.30pm, and I’ve got an hour to kill before I close my front door for the last time. My room is bare, stripped down, clean and occupied only by a few backpacks in which my belongings are stowed, placed in a corner until I return from Greece and Italy to claim them. I’ve gone through the apartment, collecting my books, my bathroom items, my coat of the hallway hanger, all the small things that have marked my presence in this place. I’ve made a few last phone calls, confirmed everything with Jim, and now, at the very last, am just waiting to go.

These past few weeks have been an exercise in severance, in cutting the strands that have bound me to New York. A brunch with a friend to say goodbye, a happy hour with some other friends in which we toasted my trip, breakfast at the office with my co-workers in which they cheered me on, one by one I’ve spoken to almost everybody that meant something to me in the city, given them a hug, thanked them for their well wishes, and said goodbye.

It feels like pulling a plant out of the soil, tearing its roots free. Everything that had slowly relaxed, unfolded, spread out is being recalled, packed up, put away. I’m collecting myself, gathering my sense of self, and preparing to get on that airplane to Amsterdam. It’s nothing new, but I’ve never left so many good friends behind, quit such a vibrant city, uprooted myself from someplace where I’ve felt so comfortable and at home.

I’ll be back, I think, to live in Brooklyn again one day. Perhaps not in 2009, or not even in 2010, but some day I think I’ll step out of a gate in JFK once again, shoulder my bag, get on the subway back into the city, and meet up with old friends at some bar to welcome my return. But for now, it’s all about the horizon. Novelty, adventure, different faces and no routine. I’ll try to update this blog from cybercafes and anywhere else I can get online as I travel over the course of the next month, so check in from time to time to see what I’ve been up to.

So long, New York.