I should be packing.
I should also be cleaning, organizing, and painting the scratch marks on the door.
I should be doing anything, something really.
But instead I’m sitting on the couch in the dark with an ice pack hoping that maybe if I sit here long enough then Snow White or Mary Poppins or some magical fairy will appear and solve all my problems.
I could be sitting here for a while then I suppose.
Today I am sad. It’s the deep kind of sad that makes your bones ache. My bones literally do ache because I somehow managed to pull every muscle in my body. My injury forces me to get quiet and still.
It’s funny how a physical injury brings your heart wounds to the surface.
If it weren’t for this damn hip I probably wouldn’t feel a thing in my damn heart. I would manage to over function through the pain and push my heartache away in favor of logistics, planning, packing, moving, and shopping. There’s a long list to do and it would preoccupy everything about me. I would plan last lunches and whenever someone reached out to say goodbye I would brush past it with something nonchalant like “I’ll see you later!”
But instead I sit here in the dark with an ice pack on my hip and some tears on my face.
I feel the weight of goodbye. I feel the strange heaviness of leaving what’s behind and the excitement of what’s ahead. I’m watching a very long chapter close and I have to say I’ve loved every bit of the story. It’s never been a safe story or an easy story but it’s been a good story, a good story simply because it is my story and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
It is so good to say goodbye.
Goodbye means there’s something to miss. When we say goodbye to someone or something it means they mattered, they were of value. Even saying goodbye at the end of a phone call means those words were important and worthy carrying around.
Goodbye is like a little “I love you.”
As awful and as much as I dread goodbye I’m grateful for it. Goodbye is a gift. It would be such a shame to leave a season or a person and for none of it to have mattered. As tempting as it may be to awkwardly moon walk and fade into the background it would be a severe injustice to the characters and the setting that have made my story come alive.
I grew up here in every way possible.
I had my first kiss by the pond, nervous we would miss, nervous my parents were watching from the window. Somehow I managed to drive a car and not kill anyone despite the notoriously distracted drivers and the fact that I was convinced I was invincible. Sometimes I still am. I started putting pen to paper here, certain I was misunderstood in every possible way and my only solace would be a notebook to hold my secrets. Every time I needed to grow up a little more I came back to this place knowing the physical familiarity of it all would provide comfort despite any internal turmoil I simply couldn’t reconcile.
I fell in love with the city, with the people, with myself, with the music, with the rhythms, with the cadence, with the grit, with the grind.
And just like anyone else this city gave me life and stripped it away.
There are ghosts here. The ghosts of people I loved and lost. The ghosts of the words I never meant but still managed to say. The ghosts of people I gave everything to and I hope to bump into them to show them I’ve turned out just fine, better even. The ghosts of the dreams I once wished and the expectations I never met. The ghosts of the things I wanted to change but never got around to, mostly out of apathy, but also because I simply ran out of time.
There’s also my own ghost running around here somewhere, hopefully with Elvis, maybe up and down Union Avenue.
Because I’m different now. We all are. As much as I can want to stay put and sit still in the dark so nothing will change I know deep down that it will. People and places will come and go. It’ll all be different before we know it. It’s time for me to go now, half of my heart ready, the other half hurting.
I’ll get in the car and I’ll drive. I'll get out and settle in.
But I hope we all remember we’ll never arrive.
And with that I want to say thank you, thank you so very much.
Thank you for your patience, your graciousness, and your support. Thank you for showing up even when I didn’t want a single soul around. Thank you for the generosity I never thought I deserved and the kindness I could never repay. Thank you for giving me a chance and for giving me another one, and another one, and yet another still. Thank you for lying and telling people I’m cooler than I actually am. Thank you for pushing me and daring me to be different. Thank you for the grace and the space to fail. Thank you for picking me back up even though I wanted to do it all by myself. Thank you for allowing me to love something enough to miss it. Thank you for loving me back.