Last night as I was coming out of the bathroom, a spider ran across my carpeted bedroom floor. I picked up a tissue, and softly collected the insect, opening the door to my backyard and telling it farewell as I shook the tissue out. My grandma said it was bad luck to kill spiders in the house, and so I always rescue them, no matter how large and foreboding.
I’ve been killing tiny moths lately. They have invaded my home and so I kill them like it’s my part-time job, but there are no benefits despite this new freelance schedule. The place was infested when I moved in, and the extent of their presence did not become clear until after I’d fully taken up residence in the apartment. An exterminator came with his contraption and sprayed the cabinets. I still see at least two moths every day, regardless. I try to kill each one. When I’m out working, I spot black dots out of the corner of my eyes, and I think they are moths, but really, my eyes are just tired of the constant flutter. Maybe one day they will stop appearing. Maybe one day they won’t.
I walk a lot more here, since I moved from the New York City, and there are not many insects outside – it’s just turning into spring, after all, and they seem to like my house better than the fresh Pittsburgh air. I’ve been averaging about five miles a day, up and down massive hills. The other afternoon, I was quite dizzy, after having not eaten in so long, I then overdosed on sugar to make up for the lack. Here, I’ve lost weight. This doesn’t make sense to me, as I was fitter in the city, or so I thought.
New York is a swirl of feelings and confusion, and the opportunity to distract from the authentic lies around every corner. It is my history. It is where I was able to get lost and stay lost and cling to the threads of a youth that no one wants to leave behind. It’s where Peter Pan is not just a brand of peanut butter. There’s security in the youthful and reckless anonymity, and a brotherhood among the eccentric, each strange experience like another precious gem to be stored in life’s safe deposit box, or pawned for dropping funds on the next instant gratification. And if all else fails, there are copious bodegas in which you can purchase the a Mega Millions ticket or scratch card. Anything can happen in New York City; your luck can change around each and every corner. But I left because it was time to grow up and I was tired of riding that never-ending carousel, even though it was in the middle of Central Park, at the center of everything.
Something is missing despite all this hiking and moving and moth-killing. It’s not my bank account, it’s not opportunity. It’s not the chance to start over; it’s greater than that, because my numbers are never the right ones to win the jackpot. I still can’t put my finger on the ghostly sensation that somehow brought me to tears when I saw the bright lights and savage skyscrapers of New York City in an online article yesterday. Do I miss this place? Do I miss feeling so outside and yet so embraced all the time? I had memories there; how that road was where I fell one afternoon during a long run. And that’s the cafe out of which I had to dash because I had a terrible date. And this place? It’s right around the corner from my yoga studio, and where we went one evening and had much-needed wine after a particularly emotional teacher training session.
Today, I silently put spiders outside to the sound of laughter and clinking glasses, and open my back door to let in the scented night air. Maybe saving these spiders will alter my fortune. Maybe that scratch card I’ll get tomorrow with loose change in the bottom of my bag will be the one. But this evening, and on other evenings, I know, I will let a tear fall because the past is always within and without, and there really is never any going back.
Miriam Lamey is an Pittsburgh-based writer and yoga teacher. She strives to be open and attentive to the everyday, writing with vulnerability and honesty – things she also continually explores in her personal ashtanga yoga practice. She loves the discovery and adventure of being and aims to render experience via prose. Miriam’s head is also turned by thoughtful and poignant music, an excellent bottle of wine, well-crafted cocktails, delicious food, the wide outdoors, and F. Scott Fitzgerald. She is grateful to have so much support and love in her life. Her photography and insights are on Instagram under Ldym_07. Read more on her blog at www.miriamlamey.com