Back In The USA For The Wedding

The plane touched down in New York City, the rest of the world was boiled down to memories and new friends. Almost a year had passed since I’d rode the subway here, emerging on Steinway in Astoria, Queens. A woman shouted across the street to someone about paying rent, kids wheeled on by, not-yet-kids wheeling by being pushed by their parents. The air was the same, my smile was wider.

Joe was the first person I saw, walking by the familiar Starbucks that several friends had worked at and hundreds of my hours had been spent writing, coding, meeting new friends and lazing with those already established.

“Where are you coming from now?”, Joe laughed. Joe was a thin, moustached guy who did psychic readings, I saw him in that coffee shop all the time, instances like these especially where I’d been on the road and just arriving back in the city.

“I flew in from Germany”, I told him, “I’m just getting in now”.

“Holy shit”, he laughed, “How do you do it?”. Joe was always intrigued and probably thought I was a bit on the crazy side.

Carl emerged from the inside, my old roommate and now living with Mark in another apartment in town. We caught up briefly and agreed beers later would be in order, then I kept my march down Steinway still taking it in.

I met Mark as he was getting off the subway, my friend since grade school and roommate through all the time I’d lived in Queens, up until I chose a life on the go. We grabbed some beers and headed to the apartment to catch up. Me telling him about the experiences around the globe, him telling me about his lady, job and music progressions.

We went out to a good beer and grilled cheese spot where Carl came to meet us once he got off work. It was a good night of laughs, tasty beers and melding back into America.

The next day we buzzed back to Connecticut for the main event, the reason I’d chosen this particular time to arrive back in the states, Sean and Kelly’s wedding. Sean was also my great friend, constant roommate and older brother of Mark.

We piled into the train with our traditional beer run beforehand at Grand Central Station, sipping and laughing until Westport where Blake picked us up. Sean and Kelly were also there, clearly in go mode, the stress of the coming day already upon them.

Mark had brewed some beer for the wedding, so we drove around for a good while looking for CO2 for the kegs, just in time to get Mark back to the church for the rehearsal deal.

Blake and I raced over to our dad’s house back in New York for a night around the fire, catching up, talk of an Ireland trip and good times.

The next day we headed to New Canaan, a hug from my mom I hadn’t seen in about a year as well, then getting cleaned up for the wedding. It had been a while since I had a proper haircut and my beard trimmed down. My little brother had the idea of bow ties, now we were classy looking.

We scooped up Carl and his girl from the train station, a whole lot of us now cruising up to the church. We sat through the service, Sean was now officially a married man. We all gathered at the reception for great food, Mark’s homebrew, dancing and speeches and the like, all enjoying the night.

Blake and I dropped some people off, at the train, at a hotel, then it was straight to Athena Diner with Mark, Sean and his bride, Kelly. It seemed like the only way to cap off their big day.

The next day was all about relaxing with family, Blake flew back to California the night after. I had a day of wandering the city with Elvis Torso, hitting up Shake Shack and beer spots and eventually meeting up with Mark to go to a Belgian Cafe for some beers. We wound up back at his girlfriend’s place playing poker and drinking a stash of beers I”d gotten. I took the fun drunken late night subway ride back to Queens where I passed out quickly.

Grand Central in the morning, back to Connecticut for a couple more days with family, driving back and forth over the New York line to see my dad then back to Connecticut to see my mom.

Just shy of a week back and I was ready to blast off again. My sister had started school in Hollywood and wanted to have her car out there, so I was elected as the “responsible” person to accompany her back across the country, helping her and her two friends drive out there. This would be impossible to turn down. The next morning would start early and we’d be off, bringing on the next adventures.

October 6, 2011 to October 12, 2011