When it’s time

I dreamt that my dad asked why I was leaving D.C., challenging me to list all the reasons. I spouted them out systematically, confidently. I take this as a good sign.

“When you come to the edge of the light you have known and take the first step into the darkness of uncertainty, you have to believe that one of two things will happen. You will find something solid there to stand on, or you will be taught how to fly.” ~”Paul Overton

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Forever friends

Sun-speckled lunch in an airy corner booth. A decadent mid-workday lunch of cocktails (gasp! How un-American of us!) and deliciously fresh food. An overflowing bouquet to honor a birthday, a million questions for another’s imminent departure from the city we all call home.

Four forever girlfriends in a downtown D.C. eatery sharing easy laughs, concerned queries, rehashed jokes that never grow tired (to us, anyway). The restaurant bustles behind us, suits and students on a standard Wednesday break. But we are unaware, time suspended as we belly laugh in our own sacred huddle.

Today feels special. I soak it all in with an acute sense of presence. I sit back and absorb; I watch the shards of reflected light dance about on their faces. We play a silly version of “hot potato” to share the dishes we’ve chosen, passing along our fruity cocktails and juicy sandwiches, sip for sip, bite for bite, passing it down the line.

What’s yours is mine, what’s mine is yours.

Most of the (now permanent) laugh creases that have snuck onto my face are because of them. The smiles of these girls-turned-women fill my photo albums, my scrapbooks, my memory bank, my heart. Logistically speaking, we’ve dispersed and come back together several times. We’ve reconvened in cities from Buenos Aires and Edinburgh to Juneau and Munich, so we know we will be fine. Miles do not matter.

But it still pinches all the same, as we embrace on the corner, a bittersweet vibe bouncing in the fresh June air. We peel off one by one, back onto our individual day paths.

Already, I anxiously await our next reunion. For these lassies, I am forever grateful.

Not always so tidy

My first entry fit in a neat little box. Beginning, middle and end. Shock, sadness, inspiration, voila! Transformation. Tripping in the dirt, getting up to dust myself off.

(*I did not edit it to appear so perfectly tidy, that’s just how my perspective and mood shaped the events and the “story” that day.)

If only it were always so scripted. The past 24 hours have not been so clean-cut.
Last night, with little warning, I got really angry. Again. Zero to eighty…from Zen (or semi-Zen) to raging mad.

I guess this is how life goes, ebbing and flowing. Feeling strong then weak then strong again. Non-reacting one day while boiling over the next, lid shooting off, exploding skyward. This is normal, I suppose.

One day, with practice, I will be more like him (see Buddha below) 🙂

Old sights, fresh eyes

Once upon a time, I adored my neighborhood. A gentrified, bustling zone of rainbow flags, Asian eateries, brand-spanking-new bars, chic boutiques, even a divey venue where grunge and rock still thrive.  But recently, my surroundings have felt stale.

On June 24th, after I’d officially decided I’d soon be leaving D.C., I went for a sun-dappled stroll. The evening light bathed the tops of buildings as I wandered the streets I’d traveled countless times before. On this night, though, I rediscovered the charm; I remembered why I’ve felt so fortunate to call this place home.

“Colorado called”

Written June 23, 2011:

Often, deep within us, there’s a leap we know we must make. And sometimes, it’s the least expected events at the least expected times, that finally nudge us off that ledge.

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I dreamt that I was at his family’s “Colorado home.” His mom and grandma putzed around the kitchen among a gaggle of wee dogs, seemingly unaware that I was even there. I looked out the window at the distant peaks and announced, “It’s a Rocky Mountain high!” I rolled over the next morning in my D.C. apartment to share my subconscious vision. We laughed. “Why Colorado, I wonder?” he asked.

Weeks later, on May 23rd (an auspicious number that seems to follow me throughout life), his text came while I was at work: “Colorado called.” THUD—my heart plummeted. An out-of-the-blue job offer from the previous week had come through, and the wheels were set in motion. The kind, playful companionship we’d shared over recent months was suddenly draped in a heavy, real-life cloak. He was leaving. My premonition had prevailed. (For better or for worse, I’ve inherited an on-again-off-again sixth sense from an amazingly attuned mom.)

The whirlwind days before his departure were sad and surreal, accelerated and decelerated all at once. We sifted our way through a murky haze of attempted smiles,  genuine belly laughs, BBQs and beers, the rehashing of shared tales and, ultimately, a trail of tears.

On a sticky Sunday morning in front of the Seville, he hopped on his bike one final time, streaked cheeks under tough-guy sunglasses, and slowly rode alone down the street we’d so often walked together. “It’s going to be ok, I promise,” he repeated softly over his shoulder, the sadness in the air stealing away my breath as the distance between us grew.

He pedaled to the end of N Street and paused, turned back and weakly waved. He rounded the corner and slipped away. With all my strength I fought disintegrating into the hot city sidewalk. I walked and walked and walked, circling the neighborhood, terrified of returning home, petrified of standing still.

I’ve been on the move ever since, clinging to the days and surfing the waves of change, some days more gracefully than others, a roller coaster of aches and angers (especially when the kind companion in tough-guy glasses quickly revealed some not-so-lovely colors, again knocking away my breath).

He left in his wake a shaken, unbalanced girl, revisited by burning questions of where and what and why and how. A season of goodbyes marked by several more departures (not only his) brought my daily motion to a grinding halt.

Am I living the life I’m intended to live?

Regarding him, were we truly meant to be together? Likely not (something increasingly apparent with the passing of time). Will this rocky period soon appear as merely a blip on my life’s radar screen? Likely so.

Yet, all the same, it’s set something in motion. It’s set me in motion. Toward what, I don’t exactly know. But I am on the move, and for that I am grateful.

On the 23rd of June, I gave notice to both work and my apartment. And so I coast along, riding the wave, trusting  that when it’s time, I’ll land once again on solid ground.