The last days of the tour went by in warp speed. Sunday, DC. Monday, New York. Tuesday, Boston. Wednesday, back to Germany. Bam! Just like that. I'm still reeling a little.
When we got off the airplane at dusk in DC, the air smelled familiar again. California smelled different, somehow. Drier, more exotic. As we rode the comparatively empty streets to our hotel, I felt in a weird way like I was making my way back home. Which, in a way, I guess I was.
The DC event was big, bigger than any had been on the West Coast, and to boot, the store sold out of my book that evening. I hadn't expected either of those things. We celebrated with delicious steak and beers at Bistrot du Coin. The night before we'd seared our mouths with a late-night meal at Shophouse. Can't wait until that thing goes national. Your taste buds should be warned.
The next day we pushed on to New York. (Acela Express, you should know you impressed two diehard Deutsche Bahn fans with your free wifi, punctuality, and hot water in the bathroom sinks - ahem, three guesses as to who added that one.) For the first time, I started getting a little jittery. I think I was scared of being there for mere hours. I was afraid of how it'd make me feel. Luckily I was almost too busy to notice.
First order of the day? The Leonard Lopate interview. (!!)
Second order of the day? A pedicure (my first since before Hugo's birth!)
Third order of the day, this one cooked up by my genius girlfriends? Afternoon hotel room party with dumplings from Vanessa's, stellar tortilla chips and guacamole from Brooklyn and treats from City Bakery and Billy's while Hugo got to meet his New York family. It was splendid.
The reading and signing at the gorgeous Powerhouse Arena was lovely, relaxed and filled with friends. The only wrinkle was that it was the beginning of the end of Hugo's incredible easiness on this trip. Poor baby was starting to hit a wall. One too many airplane rides or early morning wake ups? Who knows. He still deserves an award for what a champ he was.
Now I won't deny it; I cried saying goodbye to my friends and I couldn't really bear to look out the window as we drove over the Brooklyn Bridge back into Manhattan that night. The visit was too short, too brief. The way a tourist might see the city, or a visiting author. Not like me, a real New Yorker, right? Right? Oh people, my heart did hurt. But then we were off again, to Boston and my stepmother, who was impatiently awaiting Hugo.
I could write a whole post on the final event of the tour, of coming back to Boston, of reading at one of the bookstores my father used to take me to when I was a kid, of seeing old friends from those days in the audience, along with faces from every step along the way to where I am today, their faces shining up at me like so many brilliant little secrets. Maybe I will, we'll see. But in the meantime, if I tell you that on that night, looking out into the audience, I couldn't help but choke up, you'll know how I felt. Blessed, lucky, proud; a little bittersweet and melancholy, too. My heart just filled to bursting.
Now we're back in Germany again, both of us reliving little moments of the past two weeks over and over. It was the trip, no, the experience of a lifetime. Those of you who came out, thank you, from the bottom of my heart. It meant the world to me to see you there, to chat, to answer your questions, to see your faces matched up to your names. And you know, for all that belly-aching I did about writing the book, I'd do it again in a heartbeat if it meant another tour.