My oldest friend is moving back to Philly.
In the three years since we came to New York she’s grown into a kind of superwoman, earning two promotions, making an astounding number of friends and navigating the city like a native.
At home she’ll have a new nephew, even more friends and a living room big enough for yoga. I
like to think she’s finding her roots in order to become human again, the truest desire of every superhero.
This makes it seem less like she’s leaving me. It also brings me to the rodeo.
She accepted an invite from work girlfriends to watch bull riding at Madison Square Garden. To absorb as much bonding time as possible before she moves, I’m tagging along.
I’m learning a lot: the poor bulls are made to buck by having their boy-parts tied up and yanked (at least we bought the cheapest seats, giving minimum support),
However, there is a big upside: drinking beer while wearing riding boots amidst the howls of urban cowboys feels almost as good as puffing cigarettes did at 15.
Just as we put our feet up in empty seats. Heather releases some moving anxiety via boot-speak. “Last time I wore these in Philly, a few guys actually asked me where my horse was.”
We roll our eyes.
“A few other people said my style was daring.”
“Daring?” I ask. “Tall boots over jeans?”
What had become her New York uniform wasn’t as common as we suspected.
The crowd booms and I cringe at a Jumbotron replay. Heather laughs and dons a borrowed cowgirl hat. The word daring fits her, boots or not—she’s daring life to change but not change her.
I tell her I think of the boots as part of her superhero costume and I know she’ll keep wearing them, the boots and the superpowers, in another city.
What I don’t say is, what happens if I need saving?
I guess I have to take the train to Philly. Round-trip, please.