Tag Archives: moving away

You know, she’s got to fly.

[part one]

In the damp Sunday mornings when the neighbors are asleep, I sit on the deck + watch children race by in rubber flip flops and cotton shorts and make a list of all the things I want for you.

It is the kind of list you make when you love someone before they exist.

It is the kind of list you make when you spend half your life holding your breath for fear she might someday know heartbreak so real it quiets her sun and blankets her smile.

It is the kind of list you stumble over in wedding vows.

It’s in those moments, where you are sleeping soundly in some other part of the country, that I find myself happy.

That is the hardest part of living in a house you’re not ready to call home. It is not the loneliness of dinner for one or breakfast on the ash-covered fold-up chair. It is not crossword puzzles on Friday nights or bathrooms that don’t clean themselves.

It is the fear of all the things you can’t know. It is holding everyone and everything you’ve ever loved in a chain around your neck and begging it not to strain you, beginning to trust that not all bad things happen while you are somewhere else.

It is the honesty of a life well lived without you.

It is the happening of all the things on the list you make on a damp Sunday morning, and the knowing that none of those things ever happened because you dreamed them between spoonfuls of Golden Grahams but because the person they were dreamed for wanted them too.

The person they were dreamed for wanted them, too.


[part two]

For days, I’ve been failing to find the right words to say something simple: it hurts when everyone you’ve ever loved is somewhere you can’t picture them and you don’t know if they’re where you expect them to be in that moment, that year.

You have whole lives picked out for them, lining them up in crisp rows like ruby red pumps and dirty green Chucks. You want them to know the heat of the driveway beneath their feet. You want them to smell the salt from the ocean and the sweat from their labor. You want them to taste homemade applesauce with a dash of cinnamon.

But you don’t know if they’ll get that. And you cannot swerve their car into the right lane with just enough time to exit this next dangerous path. You have to let them miss the turn or catapult into a gridlock. You have to let them mess up, knowing it won’t be a mistake because they’ll land somewhere altogether unexpected.

You won’t have seen it coming.

You won’t have approved it on your checklist for their future moments. Squashed between graduating college and getting married, they’ll move halfway across the world to a town you’ve never seen, so it’ll become impossible to imagine their back hunched over the kitchen sink, head ducked in concentration when they scrub that same saucepan you always used for grilled cheese.

You won’t know whether they like it there, whether they’re standing in their bathtub wishing the walls weren’t so grimy because they just want to fall against them and sob for a tomorrow that resembles yesterday.

You’ll want to ask if they’re OK, if they get by, if the rent is too high or their eyes are too tired, but you won’t because you have to let them fly.

They’ll tell you, you know.

They’ll tell you if it gets too bad.

You whisper that mantra in the moments when you fear the worst, when you stop with your cup of tea halfway to your parted lips and eke out an “oh” so hollow it reflects the newspaper clipping telling of a girl who didn’t know when to say she wasn’t OK.

You’ll hope you always taught her it was OK to say she wasn’t OK, that you would much rather spend your last dime on a plane ticket for a weekend working things out than a little black dress and a pair of black pumps and a black umbrella and a dozen red roses that always did make her eyes brighter in the rain.

You’ll have to let her fly. You know she’s got to fly.

We have become the best version of ourselves.

via weheartit.com

“I want to be sixteen.”

I can see myself at 12, 13, 14, squeezing my eyes and waiting to turn into a princess overnight. A girl the world might love a little bit more.

Other kids threw pennies into fountains. I thought there was something magical in birthdays. I thought I would wake up at 16 and my whole life would be better overnight.

No more awkward preteen with chalk-covered legs and untamed curly hair. I thought I’d wake up in a few years and be beautiful.

I guess I didn’t learn my lesson, because at 16 I wished to turn 18.

“Yes,” I thought. “I’ll have it all together by 18.”

18 came and went. I wasn’t best dressed and my hair never stayed straight in the summer heat. My skin revolted against my decision to bake in the sun until I was a shade of deep brown and I conquered a mess of acne from all that torture.

I still didn’t have it together.

It took me 21 years to figure out that some things change but some things stay the same.

Like the feel of an old trampoline under my feet on a humid summer night in my best friend’s backyard. Or the roads leading to the house in the middle of nowhere. Or the ache in my ankle when it twists the wrong way.

21 years to decipher that small fact: you are who you are and all that is imperfect and all that you remember and all that you love will not disappear in the seconds it takes to cross another birthday finish line.

I don’t know if any of us ever change or if we all just evolve into a more real version of our true self, the one we’ve been haggling with since we were 12. The one who wanted to be 16.

I can see myself now at 30, lying on my back, head-to-head with my best friends on that trampoline. Waiting for the stars in the sky to turn into a sign from above that we have made it. We have become the best version of ourselves.

I know it probably won’t happen, that life doesn’t work like that. I know we’ll split across two cities in two states separated by a three-hour time difference and I pray for the only thing I can: that the time zones won’t kill us.

And maybe that we’ll sleep as little as we do now and love as hard as we always have and that being knocked down one too many times will only make standing up easier.

I wonder if the world will try to win us over with structure and stability. If at 35, I’ll be praying to wake up at 16 again. That little girl with the wavy mess of hair and the skinny legs and the dry hands from all that chalk.

If you could go back to one birthday—just one—which would you choose?