Sunday. I take the A train up to Harlem. It runs local until it hits 59th street, and then it rumbles to life. Later, I journal about how all NYC commuters eventually learn to yield to the train's slow, rolling rhythm; you can spot a New Yorker by the way they relax into the train's cadence and allow their bodies to sway side-to-side. It's an ebb and flow thing; a trust and release thing.
I meet J on 125th after not seeing him for nearly the entire summer. When we hug, I realize I had forgotten the intensity of his warmth -- he makes you feel seen, heard, loved. That day we walk with no destination in mind; the plan is to explore Harlem without a plan. I point out the fruit stands that I frequent and the places I've yet to visit. J tells me about a few of his favorite spots, and the neighborhood seems to come alive.
We talk about love, healing, and growth. Recently, these have been the topics I've gravitated toward -- I especially find myself thinking about love. Specifically, the different ways that people navigate love, what healthy love can and should look like, and how to identify the difference between love and habit.
My therapist once asked me if there were any folks in my life who loved each other fiercely; if there were any people that I could look to as examples of what wholesome, healthy love looks like. But everyone in my immediate family is divorced, and while some of my friends have parents that are together, I haven't witnessed the private inner workings of their relationships. And so I especially appreciate these conversations with J, and the communal learning that takes place with every Sunday afternoon chat.
We also talk about our sleep, or more, our lack of it, the people that we know, the dreams that we have, and the smoothies that we want to get from Jahlookova. I talk about being unsure of what I'm doing, of where I want to be, and of what I'm manifesting in my day-to-day life and actions. J is calm and even-keeled, as always. "You're working toward something though. You're thinking about it. That's important."
A few times in the midst of our conversation, J asks me to stand in the street to catch the light.
That's how he photographs. He follows the light.
When he tells me this, I can't help but to feel it perfectly summarizes what I've been desiring lately. I want to let go of all worries, doubts, and fears and follow the light. Chase the things that I am passionate about, just as J chases the setting sun as we walk. Cliché and cheesy, but an important realization to have. I think about all of my favorite things -- traveling, learning new languages, meeting new folks, storytelling -- and I think about how I haven't chased those things with all of my Self; only daydreamed about them.
And so on Sunday I promise myself that a change is coming. I promise to actively follow the light + manifest the life that I want to live. I think about my upcoming trip to Portugal and I send a prayer into the universe that it re-affirms all I've been thinking, feeling, and desiring lately. I know it will. I know this is the beginning of something bigger. Follow the light.