"Are you sure you still live here??"
Posed my old Time Out co-worker and pal Melisa, it's a legit question, given that I've slept overnight in NYC maybe 10 times over the past month and a half. But after a long, slow train ride alongside the Hudson, hauling a painting, a pile of photographs, a suitcase stuffed with K.'s extra civilian clothes, a large, lumpy hand-knitted pine-green sweater (needing only three-quarters of a sleeve), and half a pound of Peet's coffee, I'm back in Brooklyn again, to eat the leftover cream-cheese brownies from the freezer (which is like eating really excellent fudge, without the molar shudder of the tourist-town item) and finally put away the piles of laundry strewn all around the house.
Since mid-December, it's been three weeks driving through the South, four days in San Francisco, a week or so in Brooklyn, then another week in SF, then a 14-hour layover in Brooklyn--just enough time to wash a pair of pajamas, go to the bank, and get back on the A train to JFK for a 45-minute quickie flight upstate to see K. The only good thing about sending your girlfriend off to a military base in a combat zone is that when you're driving back to an empty hotel room at 11 at night through dense fog you cannot cry, because you can already barely see the white lines on the blacktop, especially with a snorting truck riding your bumper as you crawl along squinting for the turnoffs.
I have pictures, and a bouquet of flowers delivered this afternoon, and an Army-girl action figure, complete with bayoneted M16 and flak vest.
All I can do is be USO girlfriend, writing letters, baking cookies, sending shampoo and CDs. So if anyone has good recipes for things that can survive the two-week trip halfway around the world, or ways to make long-distance work, let me know.