As the daily briefing concludes, I am preparing to say goodbye to my imaginary boyfriend of 111days, Governor Andrew Cuomo. Am I ready?
For his final briefing, the governor traded in his golf shirt for a black suit with a popping lavender tie. He is for once sitting alone. There’s an Excelsior seal propped up in the background, parallel to the American Flag, and pictures of his family blurred in the background.
I can still remember the first day we met, me alone and frightened on my living room couch and him staring across from me in his polo shirt, exuding warmth and kindness in a time when I needed it most. He wasn’t my typical type. Older. Serious. But as I began to hunker down through Covid-19 alone in isolation, Mr. Cuomo served as a surrogate boyfriend, uncle, and father all rolled into one.
Nothing could distract me. My phone would ring, and I would quickly answer and say, “Cuomo is on,” and hang up. Like the years of must-see TV that rivaled Seinfeld or Game of Thrones. I needed to hear every word, each statistic and then wait for the fortune cookie ending where he’d spew some sort of uplifting remark about how loving and strong New York was and from those words of comfort, I could proceed with my day. 110 days later I guess I no longer need him by my side.
Cuomo and his brother Chris were the dynamic duos of television, with their friendly banter and witty retorts I felt part of it not removed from the family. When Chris got COVID I wept. I actually stood outside my parent’s house, with a sign like the radio equivalent of the movie Say Anything, and called them to the window. It said I love you! My father in fear shooed me away. Family.
As the days progressed, I learned where to shop when to stay in when to go out and I listened with absolute precession to every word he said, above the mayor, above the president above anyone with exception of Dr. Fauci. And then as the curve broke and we went down the mountain as he liked to say I listened as he stood with the protesters- enacted new laws for policing and used this time and his newfound popularity to finally, make necessary changes to an organization that was in dire need of change.
So, while I will miss seeing him sit on stage with his faithful sidekicks’ top aide, Melissa DeRosa, Robert Mujica, Budget Director, and Dr. Zucker Health Commissioner and having him scold the journalist Bernadette for her outlandish questions. I have moved on to the final stage of a breakup which is redirected hope. I am not angry and or in denial or even in need of holding on to this one way zoom like correspondence. He helped me and the State of New York through a time of despair when no one else could. He changed policy that had been ignored for way too long and he made me laugh and cry for three months.
It is now time to put my mask on and go outside and prepare for phase II of life after COVID. I am still woozy on how to navigate it, and I will need to resort to other news to fill me in on statistics and changes. But I will never forget what one man did for me as I lay frightened alone on my couch in a time when no one else could calm me. So, here’s to you, Andrew. To your daughters, your brother, your mother, and your cohorts, and thanks for being there for me all these past months. I will miss you, but it is time for all of us as a city, and a nation to move on.
He usually ends his briefings saying, “I’ve got to get to work.”
And I have to get to work as well. Learning to adjust and modify my life without my daily fix of Cuomo sermons. I think I’m ready. Plus I’m kind of tired of all his yelling. Carpe momentum New York. After all, we are New York Tough.