New York was a thing, for sure. We’d taken Molly first. 5th avenue, Times Square, bright lights and TV show yellow cabs. The macro of soaring Manhattan skyscrapers, like an ever familiar film set. And the micro of Pokémon and Nintendo Gameboy Advance. Molly’s excitement of pre-release before the UK. We needed a UK adapter, clunky, cream plastic.
And then we were there again, a few years later, with Beth. Lower Manhattan this time. The Soho Grand. An evening at the Balthazar, French food served with New York nonchalance, but with white aprons and black waistcoats panache. An impromptu limousine ride to and from the restaurant. Living like rock stars. Lapping it up.
And the promise to Izzy, it’ll be your turn. Albeit, let’s face it, the money we spend on your horse…
So, it was delayed. Repeated requests would come, from time to time, until, I guess, she submitted. She had to wait for the invite.
But it never came. The final grains of sand drained through. Time ran out.
About Day 56, or thereabouts, I was wheeling a trolley around Sainsburys. In the not so often visited clothing isle, I spotted a t-shirt. It said ‘New York’ in white letters on speckled blue cotton. I added it to my trolley. And I cried.
I wanted to say ‘Sorry, we didn’t make it’. ‘I would have, I promise’. I wanted the t-shirt to remind me of my New York promise to all 3, and to Izzy, the last in line.
…Roll forwards, to Day 950.
I’m starting to give St Vincent some time, in my headphones, as I work. Masseducation is the album. I wasn’t sure about her. I couldn’t quite connect. But one track was familiar, maybe from car airplay on Radio 6, maybe from Later…with Jools.
The album stays on my Spotify repeat. Day 951. Day 952.
Then Day 953.
I lay on the squidgy grey vinyl matting of my gym cool down area. ‘ New York’ plays and suddenly, unexpectedly, I connect with the lyrics, the chorus, the refrain. And I shudder gently, hoping no one notices.
New York isn’t New York
Without you, love
So far in a few blocks
To be so low
I have lost a hero
I have lost a friend
But for you, darling
I’d do it all again