On Christmas Eve, my family was sitting around a table playing dominoes when the phone rang. I was contemplating how to get rid of the dreaded double-blank as my mom handed me the phone. "Eleanor wants to wish you a Merry Christmas!" I hadn't talked to my aunt Eleanor in ages and little did I know just how portentous our chat was going to be.
Eleanor is my mom's sister and she's a delight to talk to. Really, if she ever calls you collect (which she never would, she has more taste than that! But we're in Hypothetical Land here people. She's never gonna call you) accept the charges cause it will be worth every penny. Adjectives that describe a conversation with Eleanor (or Skeleknor to those in the know): witty, fast, urbane, fast, interesting, fast, hilarious, fast, guffawing, fast and fast.
She asked me how I was: I officially came out to her. She expressed her love: I did likewise. She asked me what I was up to: I said Lynchburg, Lynchburg College, grad classes. She inquired of my future plans: I said I was seriously thinking about moving to New York City and trying to make it as a writer at a magazine or publishing house or whatever. She said she had been waiting for this moment: I didn't know how to respond. She said she has tons and she means TONS of contacts at magazines and that whatever I want she would get: I felt a little bit of shock.
She then proceeded to detail her contacts: I felt my jaw drop, and drop and then fall off my face. She said her job was to set me up with job, apartment, contacts and that my job was to tell her when to start and when to stop: I hadn't spoken for 5 minutes at this point.
I believed I stammered something in the way of thanks and love and just general gushing before we stopped talking.
So now that I've had enough time to distill this information not once, not twice but three times like a fine single malt, I'm ready to bottle my 2008 Falcon Distilleries "When Not If" scotch. Seriously. I'm in the calculator stage of the planning. How much money I need to save, etc.
And I'm not walking into this blind. I lived in Washington Heights for 8 months when I was a missionary. I know Harlem, East Harlem and the South Bronx better than the typical white boy does. I know how noisy, crazy, expensive and lonely the City can be. And I love it. And if I didn't take this chance I know I would regret it.
And more importantly, what would Skeleknor think if I didn't?!