I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. Or the next day. Or any of the days allocated to me until my time is up. But no one does, right? No one can count on love to last, or their ship to come in, or on their next breath. I may never stand in the icy wind staring up at the Moais on Easter Island, or feel the growl of Tom Waits as he paces across a stage like a caged lion. I may never hear my own baby bellow as it’s forced out into the uncertain world.
I ran away to New York City to try and shake a heavy heart. Ran away from all the people who know best, the people I don’t show my busted heart anymore. I ran away from the life I wanted, but was too scared to fight for. I ran away from him and desperately hoped he’d make chase. When I’m running, I like to play it cool – I like to pretend that I’m running toward something. Like when you’re running for a bus, but see the doors close and watch it pull away from the kerb before you catch up, so elect to keep running for a bit. You never call out, ‘hey, bus! Wait!’ Cause you weren’t really ever running for that bus, you don’t care that you missed it, you were just jogging to get your heart rate up a bit. Maybe burn a few cals. So, I ran toward New York City and it’s food. I ran toward bagels and hot dogs and giant salty pretzels, toward meatballs and pastrami and cookies, toward pickles and lox and lobster rolls. The red-eye from LA leaves me tired, sweaty and giddy; my first day in NYC has the same result. A deep-fried peanut butter and banana sandwich, baked eggs and coffee fill the hole, but don’t touch the ache. I want comfort; I want soup. The whole world cries into soup: the Jews and their Matzo ball, the Thais and their Tom Yum Goong, the Vietnamese and their Pho. Ukranians and their Borscht. In NYC, on a heavy-hot night, I choose Momofuku Noodle Bar and Japanese soup, ramen. We’re offered a twenty-minute wait, and are seated in five. It’s busy and it’s loud and it’s somewhere to sit after running so far. We order soy sauce eggs, the murderously good pork buns and ramen named for the restaurant. The broth is balanced, clear, creamy with pork fat. Cabbage, shallots, seaweed, shredded pork shoulder and a perfect poached egg jostle for attention, overshadowed by slabs of soft, fatty pork belly and a messy tangle of pliant noodles. I drain the large bowl – it’s equal parts satisfaction and comfort and sustenance to keep running. But you can’t run forever. And when I stop running, life is time spent between the moments when my heart pounds frantically in my chest, trying to get out, trying to get back to him. So I eat a lot of soup.