A Timeline For Leaving

Four months ago I thought I’d rent a car and disappear into the night: pack my things and drug the cat and drive halfway across the country to my home city, where I belonged. There’d be no need to tell anyone, I thought, retarded with the novelty of grief. Not my friends. Not my recently-exed. I would just show up at my parents’ door, sleepless and insane. Knock knock. Hello. I just had to come.

It seemed like the most immediate and appropriately drastic solution at the time, and its potential reality — the fact that every day, any day, I could just do it — allowed me to stay, breathe, deliberate, for one month.

Three months ago I went to our first Slutcracker cast meeting, where everyone was smiling and excited and giving high fives. And in retrospect, if I hadn’t been open to staying, why would I have subjected myself to that? Could I have possibly thought “the people here will convince me to leave”?

I said “okay. So I’ll stay through December.” and I dragged my Aerobed to a third floor I couldn’t really afford as a sort of promise: I will eventually leave you.

Two months ago my friend Sara visited for a few nights with her baby. They slept on my air mattress, and I slept on a different air mattress, because when you want to keep your options open and live in the moment it usually involves lots of uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

Anyway, so in this fashion a child was temporarily in my life. Days spent with a parent and child are different from the four-hour babysitting stints I’d once known so well. In a matter of days, things start repeating themselves. Baby goes to sleep. Baby wakes up. Baby crawls around. Feed the baby. Baby goes to sleep. Baby wakes up.

And I know they grow up so quickly or whatever, but in a couple of days a child’s existence and needs acquire a sense of cyclical endlessness. That was fun for a while, but. What, we can’t party now? You want to go see some movie about murder or something? And with this re-evaluation of what it meant to be a parent, I began to re-evaluate a lot of the presumptions I had about my alleged future.

“I’m going to wash Miriam’s hands,” Sara said. “I’ll be right back.”

I sat down at my computer. Sara re-entered the room, baby cooing. “You know what I’ve always meant to do,” I said, “is apply to Salt. And I just decided that I’m going to do it today.”

“Sheesh Adrianne,” Sara said. “I was gone for like one minute.”

One month ago, I wrote you a letter. I love you in the most casual sense of the word. I love you so that if there were a tornado coming, I would usher you into a basement. I love you if it would cheer you up.

We clarified, this doesn’t change anything.

Three weeks ago, I got the acceptance letter from Salt.

I cried, “Hurraaaaay!” Then, “Ahhhhhhhhggghhh!”

Last Friday, after I’d convinced myself Wells Fargo would make this entirely fiscally irresponsible/impossible, and I’d come to terms with what now seemed a gloomy return to Minneapolis — another loan suddenly worked out. My dad called at eleven at night to let me know. I went to Portland the next day to sign a lease.

I asked my new landlady, “so while I live here, can I borrow one of your 14 cats?”

“We used to just include a cat with the apartment, actually.”

“Yessss.”

On the ride home, I turned to you. “Visit me?” I asked.

Yesterday, I mailed in a check for my full tuition. I move at the end of the month, and start classes as a photography student (!) one week later.

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9 Comments

  1. Your life is so crazy. One minute you are all, “I’m gonna get married!” and then it’s “I’m drowning in grief!” and then it’s “I’m in love!” and then like five minutes later you are like, “See ya, suckers! I’m leaving to follow my passion for photography in a very underpopulated state!”

    You are one of the most awesome people I know. :)

  2. I think my only disdain for you “following your dreams” is that nobody called me at 11 p.m. with a sweet loan deal. I had my dreams. Dreamed and dreamed. Then woke up, and decided fund them myself. Fuck phone calls and bailout money that would never come my way because my dreams weren’t believed in.

    Regardless, I’m glad that you’re going to have an amazing time! Grad school was the best thing I ever did. Paying back the loans? A total bitch. Soak up the experience!

  3. I will drive to Maine with your requested guest list of Boston-dwellers, to visit you and bring you out to the horse-farm dotted country where we can all play cards while we cuddle under antique quilts in front of the wood stove.

  4. What I really want to do is get you one of those John-Belushi-Animal House sweatshirts that say “COLLEGE” only get one specially made that says “GRADUATE SCHOOL.”

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