Two years after my mother died, I got divorced, and my dog died too, I moved myself from Los Angeles to New York City.
After being on the West Coast for most of my adult life, this move was a huge surprise to me—a life experience I didn’t realize was available to me. It was like some unknown force was leading me.
My willingness to be open to my intuition guided me. I was being led somewhere better than I even believed. I could see clearly now that something larger than me and outside of myself had a plan of its own: A different person in a different city on a different coast.
I had arrived in Manhattan during an April rainstorm. I rushed through crowded, loud and bustling downtown streets, fighting a fierce wind with my umbrella, soaked and freezing from the downpour. I felt like a complete stranger in a foreign land.
As rain pelted my face, my pant legs soaked to the knees and cold chills ran through my entire body, I started to think I couldn’t handle the change. I wiped the tears streaming down my face along with the raindrops, wondering what the hell I was thinking moving to such a big, wild, loud city. I wanted to immediately fly back home to my sunny, laid back, southern California.
I was doing everything I could to move forward, but also felt so close to giving up. I reminded myself, I asked for this change. It’s why I came to New York in the first place. And even though I felt like I couldn’t continue, and wanted to bail out. I knew I wouldn’t.
Regardless if I was walking against a hard wind in the cold rain, I reminded myself that I was on an adventure, growing and evolving, and that’s all that mattered.
In rare moments, I worried I was going to be alone for the rest of my life. But, I trusted this was my new home and also I felt at some point, I would meet a man who could offer me a deep enduring friendship and a family.
After three years in NYC, one night during the first week of December, when the weather was just turning cold, I swiped right on a man’s picture on the Bumble app. His profile read, “Part artist. Part scientist. Part magician. I’ve performed my work for Kings and Queens, in the Olympics, with Cirque du Soleil and on Broadway everyday. Looking for something real.”
We texted, and I told him I was forty-seven and an artist too. He wanted to meet me the following week when he got back from doing a performance in Marrakesh. For reasons that I could not understand, I had a feeling about Dan before we even met.
He invited me to a quaint and special tapas restaurant a few blocks from my apartment. It was December 15th, 2016, the first night of that winter season when temperatures dropped below freezing.
I gave the maître’d my black faux-fur winter coat and approached Dan who was sitting in the corner at the bar. I sat on the stool next to him and a few moments later as I adjusted in my seat, he reached between my legs to grab the leg of the stool and pulled it right up to him, looking straight into me.
Sitting there with his knee pressed against my thigh, I just knew. I could tell he knew too.
We ate razor clams and drank red wine. He showed me pictures of his recent art installation in the center of the world fair in Astana, Kazakhstan.
“We’re cut from the same cloth,” he said after hours of conversation.
Dan then came over every subsequent day. A week later, he said he wanted to take me Brooklyn to show me his art studio. As we drove in his car, he squeezed my thigh hard.
The Avett Brother’s song, I And Love And You, was playing on his stereo. I watched the traffic in front of me and the bicyclists whiz between cars. I looked up at the tall buildings on either side. The day was chilly, grey and the few trees in the city streets were barren.
We crossed over the Williamsburg Bridge and I looked behind to the island of Manhattan, in awe of its magnificent skyline, overcome by where I’d landed.
I turned my head to look out my window so that he couldn’t see me sobbing but there was no way I could hide. I knew in that moment my new life had begun. I had reached my destination.
“Why are you crying?” He asked me.
“I can’t believe it’s all over.” I told him. “The grief, the pain, the loss, the difficult years—it’s now all in the past.”
Dan squeezed my thigh tighter as he hid the tears welling up in his eyes too.
“It is my fervent hope that you and I will be family,” Dan told me.
Tomorrow we’re getting married and my life is overflowing.
Sending you all my love and thanks for sharing with me on this special day!