Down by the river, down by the banks of the river Charles…

It was the strangest feeling flying back to Boston, after seven months away. It was even stranger knowing I would have no time at all to see the city, because I was there for a few precious hours for a job interview.

I arrived at the airport, knowing exactly where to go to get a cup of tea, where to find the cleaner restroom, where to catch a cab into the city. And then when the taxi emerged from the airport, taking the exit ramp that gave me a panoramic view of the city, I actually had tears in my eyes. Not just a pang of nostalgia, but real tears. As we took the short cabride from the airport to the South End, I nearly had my nose pressed to the glass as I recognized landmarks and strained to see and absorb as much as I could…before I disappeared into a conference room for the rest of the day. 😦

I arrived at my destination around 11:00, did the “meet and greet” thing with the people I’d spoken on the phone with, and joy of joys! They wanted to take a walk to a nearby cafe for lunch. I’d get outside, get to see a little corner of the city, get some bricks under my feet and immerse myself in a little taste of urban living once more.

For lunch, we went to the Garden of Eden cafe, a delightful cafe in a corner of the red-brick and brownstone neighborhoods of the South End. (I found this picture on the web—my gratitude and apologies to the photographer, whose name I neglected to take note of.)

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I was talking business because I was there on an interview, but half of my brain was busy soaking up atmosphere. Gorgeous day with bright blue skies, warm sun, cool breeze. People out and about on the sidewalks, enjoying the beautiful weather.

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On the walk back from lunch, I caught a glimpse of Holy Cross Cathedral, which I’d never had a chance to see while I was living in the Boston area. It’s quite impressive from the outside, though it’s too bad the neighborhood is so built-up around it. A little space, a little green would set off the building beautifully, but of course, space is at a real premium in a city like Boston.

And all too soon, I was back in the office building, talking business, talking, talking…. Then before I knew it, my taxi was back to whisk me back to the airport. Nose nearly pressed to the smeary glass of the cab window, trying to remember every detail, I was back at the airport in a nanosecond.

While I waited to board my flight at the airport, I kept looking around for ways to take Boston back home with me. That’s how the gift shops try to tempt you—with overpriced t-shirts, overpriced hats, overpriced mugs, overpriced everything with the name Boston written across it. But none of it tempted me. I can’t take home Boston by paying $25 for a Red Sox cap or a green “Kiss me, I’m from Boston” t-shirt. I just had to leave Boston behind and get on my plane.

Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston, you’re my home …

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