Sunday nights have this aura about them. They’re the entryway to the coming week- full of unknowns and possibilities- and a moment to look back on the one you just had. Tonight is the first time I’ve experienced the feelings I am now since I’ve been in New York, maybe even in the United States since I’ve been back. Now that it’s the eve of the 20th and a week or so before I go back to pack up my life, yet again, I’m starting to feel the weight of what it’s going to be like to start somewhere new again.
I haven’t cried for a long time. Not really. Not a full bodied, gasping for air cry since I’ve been here. For being someone who cries over the fluff on a kitten or a perfectly arranged cluster of notes played on a piano or a crushed Robin’s Egg or watching two people in love on a riverbank, that’s been a good while. It could be the lack of time or the exhilaration of being in a fresh place or not feeling close enough to anyone to really let it go- either way, it’s been building without me even knowing it.
The first weekend after coming back from Phnom Penh the first time after I had visited I went to an M83 show at The Paramount with Mills and our respective exes. I was feeling conflicted about the feelings I was battling after coming back and knowing I would leave eventually and with that, would have to leave the people I loved. When “Wait”, one of my favorites of all time, came on I broke down. All of the concerns I had for the future came rushing to me along with the understanding that everything was still going to be okay, better even. I stood there in a sea of Seattle-ites under the blue lights filled with marijuana smoke and cried as hard as I could. I shook and shook until the show ended, my plastic cup of blueberry vodka and lemonade long gone, and all of our eyes were tinged with red and thick with salt. I had no idea when the next time I could cry that hard would be.
I suppose it’s hitting me tonight that what I’ve chosen to do is a massive change. It’s not changing apartments in the same city or taking a short trip: this is me choosing to set down, at least for a while, in a city where I have no roots, no one I can call at midnight to come over for wine and cry with, no family. And yet I feel overall at peace about this. I thought that moving back to Washington after Phnom Penh was what felt right, and maybe it did on paper, but in my bones I knew something was off. I wasn’t ready to go back to those same streets and try to repatriate there and the opportunity to live somewhere entirely new presented itself and I clung to it.
Now that I’ve decided to take these steps onto new ground, I think of my dad. With all big steps like this, I realize that he’s not here. The astringent memory of wandering through the cold hallways of the hospital not knowing what was to happen next flood stronger than ever and it’s like a nerve is touched. One that only responds when at the deepest level I feel like a wide-eyed little girl, not knowing what I’m going to do next because even with all of my stubbornness and curiosity and independence, I want someone to worry about me.
I miss the arms that would hold me no matter how big I got when I was completely lost, when I didn’t know the answers-which is often. I miss his moss green soft as a lamb’s ear sweater that caught thousands of tears over my life, and his. I miss the smell of Vermouth in the evenings when he would be preparing himself a martini after work. I miss the sound of Wagner through the speakers when I would come home after school and he would be making Spaghetti Bologense. I miss the low rumble of his voice meshing with my mother’s late at night when I would wake up to get a glass of water. I miss sending him stupid emails with even stupider pictures attached, knowing he would take the time to respond. I miss seeing him sitting in his study, poring over some book I would never understand. I miss the silly voice he would use when picking up our fat cat, Lile, gritting his teeth when he pet him. I miss the trail of popcorn he would leave behind after surely nodding off halfway through a movie and pretending he had watched the whole thing.
I could go on forever about the glow he left behind in his wake. Instead, I will remember them as I’ll move into this next stage of my life. I’ll try and remember to cry, more than I have been recently, at least. And I’ll remember that this has all been done before. It can be done again.