Well, in a way. Gravity did play a trick on us, as she found herself drawn northward, toward a city that I only saw from afar until I was 40 years old. My first trip was ours together, and at 13, she looked up into the glitter of the forest of skyscrapers and said: One day, I'm going to live here. Oh, surely, I thought, she'd rather find herself a nice grove of sugar maples, but mothers can be wrong on occasion.
"One day" came in May, 2005, when she packed her suitcase and moved into a dorm for college students, then set about finding a job that would pay her enough to eat. (We paid her rent that summer.)
The next summer she graduated, found an internship and became the itinerant boarder, finding places with friends of friends who were out of the city for the summer. By fall, she had landed a "real job," and though she could barely afford the rent, on a frigid February day in 2007 my best friend from high school and I moved some hand-me-down furniture and dishes into a third floor walkup on the Upper East Side. And I cried.
Warming the homemade spaghetti sauce I'd brought from home in her tiny kitchen a couple of nights later had me pretending this was my apartment, and that I was 22 years old, setting up house and my laptop in a city where I would one day write something remarkable. For just a few New York minutes, I was living vicariously through my child, hopeful for her, that her own new life would allow her to create something remarkable for her own self.
As we head into her third fall of living away from home, my not so little apple has indeed created something remarkable for herself. A new job, a newer apartment, and a new husband now occupy her own New York minutes, her days likely filled with the dreaming I once did when she was just a small blossom hanging from my tree.
She keeps, though, a slender tether to home, writing about the things she misses about North Carolina, and where in this swirling place, she can find small pieces of home.
I knew she could write, but I hadn't actually read anything she'd written since she was in high school, so I was surprised, a bit, that she chose to start a blog. It's a movement I would have so been part of as a young writer, just testing out my words. Now that I've written so many in my life, I'm not sure I have all that much more to say.