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.”
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.