You’ve Changed

For seven years, I’ve been in a long-distance relationship with Minneapolis. Holidays were never long enough. I eagerly plotted my return, the neighborhood I would live in, the books I would carry to rose garden picnics. I networked. I made long-term plans with friends. My ballots have been absentee for my entire voting life, my direct deposits traveling halfway across the continent. When I renewed my driver’s license last year, I made sure to do it while I was home for Christmas, theorizing that I’d be back soon and wouldn’t want to deal with taking the test all over again.

“Your address is still current?” the friendly DMV lady chirped. I paused, and she looked up at me with big blue eyes.

“Correct,” I said. “Edina, Minnesota.”

My party trick was to single out fellow Midwesterners. They didn’t have to have an accent, and they could be complete strangers, observed from a distance: I just knew. I took this to be a sign from a higher power.

“You know what I just noticed,” I said to Jurvis’ family during a ride in Connecticut. “You guys don’t have any ramblers here.”

“What’s a rambler?” they said.

Ah, home! I found homesickness in a body of water, within the publishing house information on first pages, in phone calls and emails and Facebook updates. I scanned through Flickr groups and booked flights. Every reminder of Minnesota’s existence was a call to return.

The other day I was biking home from a day spent in Davis Square. And suddenly it hit me: we haven’t had a car here in nearly a year — and yet I’ve never felt so free to get where I need to go. I haven’t worked in an office in months, and yet I’ve never gotten so much done. I have my favorite places, my favorite routes, my favorite way to conduct everyday life, and it feels as though it’s all becoming ingrained as a part of me.

I stopped and glanced through a parting in the treetops, where the Boston skyline hovered.

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7 Comments

  1. There are plenty of ramblers in New England. We just have the decency to keep them out of sight :-P

    Also- w00t for no cars! T+bike+zipcar = :-D

  2. Mmmmm. Yeah. Bikin’ on snow rutted streets in 20 degree below zero weather is not romantic. Since few want to walk 3 blocks and stand waiting for a bus or an LRT in that same inclement zone, mass transit is something the frustrated liberal citizens of Minneapolis daydream about while huddled over grand future plans. I don’t know if the feeling is mutual, but I’ve always thought that Minnesotans and Massachusites (sic) were fellow travelers, sharing many of the same slightly-out-of-sync-with-the-rest-of-the-nation attitudes and values. You have two homes now.

  3. Moving to my new place in St. Paul a month ago was probably the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I live alone, less than two miles from my full-time job, and it’s a short motorcycle commute to my part-time job 3 days a week. Plus, it’s SUMMER, the most beautiful and inspiring time of the year. Sure, I’m still HERE, but I think home is what you make it.

  4. See, and I think that I couldn’t live without my car… even though I take mass transit. I find myself daydreaming about the day I can afford to park downtown, no more waiting for buses that are late with standing room only after a long day in heels, with some rando creeper staring at me to my right, a drunk homeless person to my left, and stops on EVERY f-ing corner. If only we had a subway/T/mertro *sigh*

    That said, what the hell are you still doing with an MN ID?!?!? It’s been damn near a decade since you’ve lived here.

    Speaking of- when are you coming shopping in my closet so that I don’t give stuff away without you?!?!?!

  5. I do, I do!!! And sweaters too! All kinds of stuff… bring a big suitcase. What day are we going to the fair again? I’m trying to plan goodbye parties!

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