Farewell to Brooklyn

Merritt in Brooklyn

Dear Brooklyn,

I will never get over you. How could I?

When I pulled up to that gray building next to a poor excuse for a park, it was one big trust fall for this Southern boy. I wasn’t sure I had the chops to survive here, so I promised everyone I’d stay 8 months and not a day longer.

You guided me forward and taught me that I was stronger than I believed, but that was your easiest lesson. You taught me how to fall in love in that gray building next to that poor park. I learned how to give everything to another human, feeling so vulnerable and exposed that I thought I might just die where I stood. Until then, i thought love songs and rom coms were caricatures of life, but you taught me that they are echoes of real life. They make sense to me now.

I would’ve been happy if your lessons stopped there, Brooklyn. I didn’t want my heart to shatter into a hundred pieces. Into a thousand pieces. Into a million pieces, each one falling to the ground like acid rain. I cried so many tears on your gum-splattered streets. When I sat under the tree next to the cinema and sobbed until I was dehydrated, you held me without a word.

When I moved into that shiny new red brick mid-rise, I assumed better days lay ahead. And I was right—until I was plunged into a chronic pain disorder that rattled my teeth. You stood by me while I fought depression and the fear that I would never again feel normal. When I stood out on my balcony drinking too much red wine and chain smoking cigarettes, you didn’t judge me. You knew I’d come through it, and I did. There was a lesson there—that learning to LOSE is as vital as learning to LOVE.

Goodbye, Brooklyn. I’ll be across the river learning from your sister, Manhattan. I promise to visit, but it won’t be the same. You can never really go back. Only forward.

One day in the far future, I’ll be laying in a hospital bed, cranky as ever, seeing the end of my story approach like only a writer can. Before I go, I’ll imagine I’m back with you again.

Then I’ll be gone, but you’ll be here; receiving another moonfaced man who has no idea what‘s in store for him.

Take good care of him, Brooklyn.

Show him how to love, how to lose, how to live.

♥️ -J.

Maegan Schwindling