March 08, 2007
Bench in the sun
After a trip that began with three hours on the runway at Snowstorm City, while they de-iced the plane again and again, and then a long night of flying over the ocean while strangely cheerful flight attendants kept waking us up and giving us food at bizarrely inappropriate times, my husband and I were finally reunited with our daughter. How good it was to hug her at last! She seemed happy to see her overtired, drugged-with-dramamine, zombie-like parents and chatted about her semester as she guided us expertly about the city. We ate in a pub that served veggie burgers, walked through streets in Chinatown that were strung with bright red lanterns, and took a quiet evening stroll along the River That Runs Through the City to look across at the Famous Clock Tower and Equally Famous Government Buildings.
This morning, while our daughter went off to go to her classes and hand in midterm papers, my husband and I walked through the neighborhood where I lived 25 years ago. The building, in fact the whole street of tall pale buildings, is still there, looking very much the same, the lobby filled with Arab women in dark veils. A big American-based hotel has filled up the space near the train station, turning the quiet streets into a bustling area of tourist-type stores with racks of colorful scarves for sale in front. The little bakery is gone, but the pub is still there, with the same wood bar where we gathered to drink and tell stories every night.
The big green park around the corner looks the same as I remember it, with its ponds and fountains and diagonal paths. My husband and I found a bench in the sun near one of the fountains, and then I left him to write in his journal while I walked about and took photos. I came through this park practically every day as a college student, sometimes with friends and sometimes alone. It was my first time — well, okay, my only time — living in a city, and I appreciated having all that green space so close by. How strange and wonderful to return 25 years later, so changed myself, a grown-up now with a daughter as old as I used to be, and find the park still here, the same paths and trees and benches in the sun.
Posted by jo(e)