I really do love my life in San Francisco, but I always find myself longing for Boston this time of year. During summertime, I miss Yosemite and summer camp with a long, dull pain that stretches from May to September, wherein I daydream about spending the days hiking and swimming, and the nights with friends in flannel shirts, sipping bitter, hoppy IPA's, huddled around exposed wood tables at the only bar for miles and miles. But in the winter, I miss Boston.
I miss the cozy Brookline neighborhood, where I lived with one of my best friends. I miss the funny owner of the little convenience store on the corner near our apartment, who sold my roommate and me coffee and milk and thought we were husband and wife, even though it seemed to be obvious to everyone else that my roommate was, in his words "gayer than Christmas." I miss snow days, where the entire city would shut down and hide under thick blankets, clutching mugs of Irish coffee and watching the news, passing the time until it was safe to venture out again (and, at least in my case, enjoying every second of this forced vacation). I miss waiting for the T in the snow while reading Ezra Dyer's obnoxious, yet hilarious column in the Improper Bostonian.
I even miss the things I claimed to hate: the slippery, icy sidewalks and cobblestone that made walking to a bar in high heels nearly impossible; the ubiquitous Dunkin' Donuts and their patrons, who would line up in the cold, morning after morning, swearing on their grandmothers' graves that the sugary gutter water DD's calls coffee is the absolute best. I even miss the plethora of necessary layers--the sweaters, winter coats, snow boots, gloves and hats...and the inevitable feeling of needing to pee that immediately followed the application of said layers.
Still, I know with certainty that I wouldn't move back. I am, and have always been, a California girl--I'll take avocados, sunshine and the Pacific ocean over everything aforementioned any day. I think that what I'm truly longing for when I reminisce about Boston is a simpler time in my life, when thanks to my then-tender age and total lack of perspective, I could spend my days oscillating between being a child and a woman...and either was considered developmentally appropriate. My actions felt relatively inconsequential and the opportunities before me seemed never-ending; I could reinvent myself constantly, trying on different personas as easily as I switched between Ann Taylor sweater sets and tight "going out tops."
I wonder sometimes what might have happened if I had never left. Would I be living in Newton, watching my East Coast husband shovel the snow out of our driveway? Would I have my own little Bostonian children, whom I'd spend forty-five minutes wrestling into snow suits on a daily basis, and who, like their mother, would immediately need to pee once they were fully zipped in?
And I know that the answer to those questions is no. Because truly, if by some miracle I had managed to stay put in Boston all those years ago, the only things I would be doing are standing in my little kitchen, freezing my toes off, making guacamole with imported produce and missing the hell out of California.