I go to school in rural Ohio. As an East Coast native, this is a big change. Well, not so big. But it’s weird, not having the comfort of a beach (with an ocean) within ninety minutes or the proximity of New York City or even the rudeness of people. People are really fucking friendly here.
Anyway, I was walking out of my Spanish class and going to lunch, and for one split second, I forgot that this is Ohio and I am not home. I was walking down the steps to the street to cross to get to the dining hall and a cold burst of wind blew into me, and with it, the smoke of another student’s cigarette. And for one moment, it was November, and I was walking down Broadway.
I don’t doubt the power of sense memory. As an actor, I’ve studied it. I know it works. But this instance this morning was the strongest I’ve ever experienced it. Standing behind buses and trucks and inhaling the exhaust smells like summer to me, but not nearly as strongly as cold air and cigarette smoke smell like New York. I didn’t realize that that was my New York until three and a half hours ago. I didn’t realize that I missed New York as much as I did, either.
I’ve been at college for thirty-six days now and I haven’t been homesick once yet. I’m not even sure this is what homesickness is, missing a city that isn’t even your real home (yet). I don’t think I’m homesick now. I think I just want to be in New York.