We're done. My husband and I are calling it quits. Soon,
we'll be leaving our 551-square-foot, southerly exposed studio apartment in New
York City and moving to Seattle, where we have family.
Relocating will be especially challenging for George, my pharmacist
husband. Reared in Queens, he attended the prestigious Bronx High School of
Science, graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn and owned businesses
in Greenwich Village and Astoria. A devotee of the N Train, at age 43, he just
got his driver's license.
I was an Upper East Side resident for nearly a decade and am already
suffering from Big Apple withdrawal. How will I, a former publicist, cope
without white-gloved doormen and New York tabloids? In fact, celebrity
sightings are so pervasive in my neighborhood that in one week I saw Sean
Connery, Dan Rather and Caroline Kennedy.
Anticipating our move, I've been shredding piles of bank statements, credit
card bills and miscellaneous receipts. There's more confetti on my living-room
floor than in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Tattered business cards and
faded matchbooks also remind me that my Manhattan life is disintegrating into a
million tiny pieces. And I'm afraid I'm starting to lose it.
"You can't give that away," I snapped. "I shlepped it all the way from
Macy's at Herald Square to Duane Reade on 58th Street." George waxed
sympathetic, assuring me the leather bomber jacket I'd bought him three
Christmases ago should go to someone who really needed it.
Meanwhile, in classic New York form, I had - over the past decade - amassed
dozens of fancy shoes, collecting Stuart Weitzman pumps much the same way
young girls collect Barbie dolls. I had pairs in satin, suede and black
leather. For our wedding two years ago, I wore gold lame stilettos embellished
with metallic threads by the same designer. Unlike Gotham, Seattle is
preoccupied with kayaking and Coho salmon, not with red-carpet affairs, and
certainly not with fashion-forward pumps.
So far, we've managed to donate most of our "gently used" furniture. And
despite having unloaded mounds of clothing at the Goodwill in our neighborhood,
I couldn't bear severing ties with my back-breaking heels. What's the matter
with me, I thought?
My mother consoled me: "Honey, I still have shoes that I haven't worn since
Kennedy was president. And I refuse to give them away, especially those your
father bought for me."
I wasn't saving my pumps at the expense of my soul, after all. I realized
it's not the heels themselves that I can't part with, but rather the fond
memories they evoke: Black-tie affairs at the Plaza Hotel, special occasions at
Cipriani, concerts at Carnegie Hall and two-hour lunches at Keens Steakhouse,
where George started courting me.
I've decided to keep my stilettos. I'll need to peek back at my glittery
Manhattan past from time to time. But in Seattle, where hills are steep, I'll
be embracing the present with Pumas, not pumps.