You are my roots; I owe you everything.
You molded me into the man that the city took and molded into an even better man. Without you, I would never have learned how to drive. Now I can empathize with the people whose job it is to drive everyone else. They’re like designated drivers, but you pay them and most of the time you’re not even drunk. Do I ever wish you had taught me more about public transport? Never. You taught me all that I need to know about public transport, and I have faithfully avoided it since.
Two weeks ago, when I first left the comfort of your stiflingly homogenous arms, I was terrified. Armed with your many cautionary tales, I braced myself for the violence, dumpster fires, and café culture. For a while, I was so scared of getting mugged that I always left my wallet at home when leaving the apartment. But on the first day I left the house with my wallet, I was mugged by a man in an Elmo costume. He made me take a picture with him and then took everything. Instead of feeling depressed, I was relieved. Getting mugged was significantly less violent and touchy than you made it seem in your stories. Thank you for setting my expectations so low.
One thing I wish you’d warned me more about is the people. Boy, has it been an adjustment. Almost none of the women here are mothers, and some of the mothers aren’t women. There’s a lot of other stuff that I won’t mention because it would upset you too much, but I will say that my doorman is an Irish, but everyone treats him like one of us.
Despite the unparalleled access to any goods and services that I could ever want or need, the city means nothing to me. It’s simply a way to make a name for myself, meet my soulmate, and expand my mind. I haven’t had even a single casserole or 10pm bedtime since the day I arrived in this godforsaken locus of art and finance and culture. The point is, I miss you. And I truly hope that someday, no earlier than twenty years from now, I can return to you as your prodigal son and raise a family of my own.
Ben (I stopped going by Benjamin, for now)