This move was undoubtedly made easier by my decades-old feeling
that New York City, and maybe particularly gay life in New York,
had only one foot in America while the other was stepping off
into the rest of the world. At midnight on the evening of
January 25, 2000, my flight departed the city in a snow
The next evening sitting in my hotel
room in a foreign country I wrote in a journal:
"We took off into the pitch black,
made a half loop around New York – I had my farewell
look at those millions of bright lights that were my
home for forty plus years – and then out into the
"Early the next morning the plane was circling over a
picture postcard city of pastel-colored houses and grand
palaces and historic buildings stretched out on the hills
above a wide bright, sparkling river."
In July of that year I had to return to New York City to receive
the official document from the embassy, which allowed me to
import any household possessions into my new country duty free.
I had left behind my books, CD's and a few other things I wanted
to keep, in a rented storage room. I had expected a lot of
rigamarole arranging for their shipment, but on the contrary
with the help of the storage facility it was done in the
idiomatic New York minute. And I was unexpectedly left
with more than a week of free time. I visited two friends
still in the city...then I poked around for a couple of days
until I sat down one morning and accepted the fact that more
than anything, I wanted to go back home. Yes:
I turned in my return trip Economy Class ticket
– forked over an extra hunk of cash
– and purchased the last seat on the flight back
that night, a pricy First Class one.
I had saved the short fragmentary journal that Tom, my roommate
of thirteen years, had kept briefly after the death of his
ex-lover, Robert. I burned the pages and let the ashes
blow away across the sand. And now they were in the same
place where he had danced while scattering Robert's cremated
remains. Finally, even if Tom's physical remains could not
be there, something of Tom is.
I have not been disappointed in the years that have followed.
As Meister Eckhart said to his brothers
"Why do you live?"
– "My word! I do not know. But I am happy to