Radical Friendship

Once, I was planning a surprise party for a friend’s 29th birthday. We were hosting. All invitations had been sent. At the last minute, I was sent (without much “consent”) on a business trip. I agreed to go, but only if I could come back home for the party. (I believe I presented it as a “wedding,” which was not entirely untrue, since this friend was marrying herself to the idea of her thirties.) So, I flew up, I worked, I flew down, I partied, I flew up, I worked, and I came home looking quite unattractive because that is what 72 hours of airplanes and alcohol will do to a person. And I did not care.

This might be making me sound like Such a Great Friend, which is a) hopefully true and b) not the point. I was searching for pictures (of something else) and came across the photos from that party, and just got this pang of rightness. I want that kind of radical friendship to be par for the course. Shouldn’t we max ourselves out to get all up in the celebrations and daily lives of our people?

We have a couple of weddings coming up, and all the bachelorette parties and bridal showers and general craziness that come along with them. Here’s how I feel about weddings: when you get married, you’re turning in your card. It’s the friendship equivalent of “Get Out of Jail,” only it’s more “Get All Your Humans.” It’s the one time you get to tell everyone when, where and how fancy, and they have to show up and eat cake. (“Have to” being a strange usage here, because: cake.) Acceptable reasons for missing a wedding, in my opinion: childbirth (yours), communicable disease or death. (Honorable mention: a destination wedding you simply cannot afford to attend.) If two people actively want me to watch one of the most sacred moments of their lives, I think it’s only fair to move a lot of pieces around in mine to make that happen. When it was my turn, I got to see what that was like from the other end, and I can only say this: gratitude can become tangible enough that you can go inside it and sit down and wrap it around you like a blanket.

So, as we’re getting ready to move all these pieces to be there for all the wedding events, I’m thinking: shouldn’t this be how it always is? Every time I’ve pushed myself a little bit and agreed to an experience that was bond-forming but exhausting/expensive/overwhelming, it’s been worth it. Riding interminable busses to visit people in other cities. Planning Friendfest. Driving hours to see a new baby. I probably whined about being cold or tired at the time, or about having to forgo sushi for a while. (This is when you know I love you.) But then the experience is always a shot in the arm, an infusion of clarity. You make me smarter. You make my soul sit better. When we danced together, drenched in sweat and hard cider, I saw that live music makes you happily insane. When I held your tiny baby, I learned that your brand of exhaustion is graceful and funny. Every event was a line that we laid down. It made the net of our friendships stronger, and it made my existence feel more purposeful. I think we’re here for each other. I really do.

Sometimes you can’t make it happen, but often we just choose not to, because it’s a little too. And I think my new resolution (because January doesn’t own me, and I can start whenever I want) is to say yes to anything that feels like it’ll draw me closer to my people.

(Camping is still firmly off the table.)


A Weird Little Note on Babies

Only a few of my friends have kids, but now that we’re all sidling up to 30, they’re coming in faster succession. I love it. I love every one of my friends’ children, and you might think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I love the little blond Fishers because they were first and funny and spirited, and I love Dane because he’s a genius and I watched him enter the world. I love Claire because she cuddled her tiny bulk up against me like we were old friends, and I love James because he feels like the start of something new.

What does that mean? He was the first baby born under circumstances that felt like a prompt. Slentz and Salpy were both out of law school, both employed. (Us, too.) They were in their late twenties. (Us, too.) James’ arrival on the scene was the first time a baby made us look at our life and say, “Well, why not?” (And then we moved to New York and left the law and started new businesses, and to be perfectly honest, I’m pretty glad we didn’t also have to keep a human alive. It’s touch and go on that front with the adult members of this family.) But still. I’m measuring James’ life in a slightly different way than I do the others. Every time he catapults into a new milestone, I think: “I wonder if…” I count back a few months and forward a few, and do some math. Also–and this is truly silly–he’s the first brunet. Every time Salpy texts me a picture, I squint and do some involuntary daydreaming.

None of this really means anything, because we’ll be ready when we’re ready. But sometimes, in the middle of a frustrating workday, I’ll send out a flurry of messages to all the mothers: “Dying. Need baby pictures. Immediately.” They always pull through, every one of them, and my headache dissipates in the flood of images. Laughing, trying yoga, eating strawberries. I’m genuinely overcome, every time, by how much I love these little weirdos. And because I’m bizarre and like to torture myself, my next thought is always: “How is it humanly possible that I will love my own baby more?” What if I’m a freakish anomaly, the woman who waited too long and expended her stores of affection on unrelated children?

Which is absurd, for two reasons. First, I know that’s not how it works. New people come into your life and you grow to meet them. I didn’t love my family any less when I met my husband; I became a larger person because I had a new place to lay down my heart.  Second, I love these kids for a reason not listed above: their parents. Watching my friends create new people is magic, and so is watching them raise those people up. The secret of adulthood–that your parents, who seemed godlike and omniscient, turned out to be humans trying their best–is so much less terrifying when you watch your friends dive into the deep end first. They lose sleep and obsess over pumping, while you get to watch from the sidelines and think, “Damn. You are so getting this right.”

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It tells me–like every other lesson I’ve blundered my way through in the past few months–that not only is it all going to be fine, it’s going to be great. I cast back to the hours I stressed with these people about choreography or bar results, all life-alteringly crucial at the time, and then I look at these faces. Babies, man. It’s so great that we get to be gut-checked by what actually matters.


A Real Sin

When I turned 10 or 11, I developed this really deep-seated love of standing in the back. I’d been pretty Renaissance Man for a little girl–I’d paint, dance, sing or write you a story for a handshake–but then I clammed up. No more journals, no directing plays at recess. I wouldn’t raise my hand; I didn’t want the solo.

My father had some thoughts about this, and they were jarring, because we are not religious people. ”If you do not use a talent that God has given you,” he said, “if you don’t go out into the world and use it to make other people’s lives better…that’s sin. That’s a real sin.”

*     *     *     *     *

I’ve always done the responsible thing. Not because I’m some orderly saint, but because here’s the path and what’s outside it? Dead grass and fear. If you stay on the path, no one can tell you you’re selfish or unserious. I went to college and then I went to law school, and the whole time I clenched being good in my fist.

And then I got pretty incredibly sad. I was showing up every day at a manicured building in a pretty pencil skirt, and people took my floofy-haired self seriously. They gave me assignments in their giant windowed offices, and I nodded a lot, and when I got back to my own mahogany desk, I wondered if it was normal to want–continually–to scream. The basic operating principle–of proving a point not by logic or compassion, but by finding some case in which an old white man said he thought what you thought–seemed increasingly insane. I wasn’t making anything; there was no room for creation in the margins of the documents to be reviewed. Everyone was very kind, and they spoke seriously about “professional development.” I looked at the other young faces around the conference table, searching their expressions for signs of the same stomach-plummet I felt at the thought of doing more of this. They were mostly smiling.

So I pried open my fist and I couldn’t tell what that thing was, anymore. Being Good. Was it having a career you can explain in one word? Making a lot of money?

Was it refraining from “sin?”

*     *     *     *     *

My parents are artists. One of them actually makes art for a living, but the other might as well, given her sensibility. In our house, people have projects. I’ve organized a lot of photos of grizzled pioneer women for my dad’s documentaries, and I’ve yelled in a too-loud headphones-on voice over track after track my brother’s written and sung.  They create not because it’s precious, but because it’s an orifice they can’t really screw closed. And why would anyone try?

I’d emerged from law school having traded in my original wiring. Three years of being seeped in ivy and brick and almost vertiginous intelligence had reformatted how I viewed my prospects: if I closed the computer and walked out that door, where would I go? I had an amount of money in loans that sounded more like the haul from a bank robbery than the cost of learning the law. It would be selfish to say that I wanted a life that was radically different from the one I was currently pacing through. And selfish is my boogeyman; I’d rather be accused of almost any other fault. And so I stuck around, clicking through my days. Wasn’t I so honorable, to be holding up my end of the bargain?

But the truth is (oddly enough) no one wants you to fall on your sword. No one who loves you wants to watch you crawl up inside yourself and become irritable and resentful and confused. There are higher-order values than responsibility, and after you’ve spent enough time dancing around the edge and being scared, your crucial humans will sit you down and tell you what they are: a sense of worth and the small, integral fire of happiness that comes from being your actual self.

*     *     *     *     *

I quit. Today was my last day.

This is what I’m doing, now: figuring out what I’m doing now. I have enormous dreams spread across a few big buckets, and I’m going to dump them out on our tiny table and rummage around. I’m going to see what I can build that I can be proud of. I want something that I know is good without having to ask.

I don’t believe in sin, but I do know he was right. We are finite creatures. We don’t have to be stunningly happy all the time, but we have to try for north of neutral. Not to be pleasure seekers, but to hone in on what we’re really for. We were all born with the capacity to put something out into the universe that makes it a safer, saner place.

Here’s to figuring out what that contribution might be.


First Summer

On Saturday, I sat outside an Upper West Side place that serves deviled eggs and pickled beets to a crowd of coral shorts and sundresses. I was waiting for my husband. The sundresses were necessary–I was wearing one, too–because the city finally decided to break out the kind of light-drenched morning that makes you feel all-encompassing love. Physical joy, even. These days are shots of tequila, water-clear and yet a filter through which you can see the world two clicks better than it sometimes is.

Eventually, he walked up: smiling and well-rested and newly twenty-nine. We sat down and pickled our insides, trying to preserve the day.

20140610-153020-55820085.jpgWe’ve been buckling down, lately. He’s determined to succeed at this new job, and I’m walking methodically in a new direction. And while we work toward all the great things to come, I want to remember the equal greatness of these months. I want to record these sunny days, about which there isn’t much to say, except: thank you.

20140610-153019-55819378.jpgFor the openness of the people who’ve adopted us as their own. For pitchers of white sangria with an orchard of fermented fruit to be scraped out by the last drinker. For the ability to stand on a roof in the sun and not feel one single chill. For my mother, who will call me after reading this and remind me that palefaces better be wearing hats and I don’t see a hat in this picture, Julia.


No hats. Not even sunglasses, that day, because I unwittingly gave them to another friend on another rooftop, the night before: a problem which sums up the particular variety of summer we’ve just begun.

This calendar year has been a giant pendulum: we held the free end and climbed a few stories and rode the weight as it came crashing back. I have been elated and so hopeful and very, very scared. And I wanted to pause at this crest, not to work through any trouble but to flower-press these sensations. Something equally beautiful or worthy will come next, but for the first time, I am intentionally lowering my gaze. The horizon will still be there when this season has had its run.



I would just like to announce, first of all, that I claim full ownership and copyright control over the #darrenandlaurengetmauied tag that will mark this woman’s impending nuptials. My creative genius is a beast to be reckoned with, don’t pretend you’re not impressed.


I am. I’m impressed that we spent that many hours in a jacuzzi, played that many rounds of Heads Up, that we actually did our Cardio Barre in the back yard, holding onto a hammock for support and using wine bottles as weights. We slid bacon into the oven and refilled each other’s champagne. Bottomless mimosas are sweeter in your pajamas, with women whose morning hair you’ve seen for years. 

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It’s that season. People have been paired up for ages, but now they’re slipping on rings and picking out tuxedos. We’re buying plane tickets to watch them walk into the horizon. But first we’re drinking a lot of wine and wandering around picturesque beach towns yelling call-and response songs from Team America: World Police. That’s one magic of weddings, this trump card you get to wave around: all my people in one place, I am the magnet. I went first, and felt so grateful. I wasn’t expecting how fun it would be to answer the call.

We sit in wine bars, texting the groom questions about his romantic life. This is real friendship: you barter appropriate boundaries for a good game of  ”When did you first know you were in love?”


And despite our closeness, sometimes we’re tempted to downplay the enormity. People get married all the time, this is all par for the course.

“He’ll probably say he doesn’t even remember.”


He remembers. He’ll text back immediately, with a specific date and a fleshed-out feeling he’s happy to describe, knowing full well it’s being relayed to seven women tipsy on Syrah and good feeling. That’s the other magic, getting to share in this part of the standard miracle: they found each other, they’re still happy.

Cheers to this stage, which we get to pass through only once: the ritual of trading your sister(s)’ rumpled cowlicks across the breakfast table for the morning mohawk of the man you marry. It’s never that sudden, and it’s never forever; we’ll still pour each others’ 11am champagne. But there is a difference. This was us coming together, our little friend family, to bless the new one she’s building. May it be everything you hoped for, LK. We all know it will.



District of Happiness

DC jumped up about five slots in my list last weekend. The city trumpeted Spring’s arrival by assaulting us with color riots and temperatures that yanked my mental health from prostrate to skipping. It was gorgeous. I had to turn to M in one random neighborhood and say, “I would pay through the nose for this, for the experience of walking down this street with you, in the sun, nowhere to go. I can’t believe it’s free.”


Here’s a weird thing: my life lately has felt like a string of blind dates. Hey, meet this new person at work! And here’s a friend of mine who lives in the city, you guys will love each other. And here’s M’s new friend’s wife, you guys will so get along. And I really have liked all of them, honestly. But it’s just a lot of fresh faces, and I like to invest, and so it gets a little… numb. Meeting Betsy was nothing like that. She was exactly who she’s been the whole time we’ve been building our friendship online: funny, irreverent, intelligent, interesting. Sitting in the sun with her, eating latkes and lox while we filled in between the lines of each other’s lives, wasn’t starting over again with someone new. It was cementing. Such a grounding feeling, something I’ve been missing.


I loved getting to introduce her to M; him meeting my “blogger friends” weirdly makes them feel more real to me? He dug her also, and was really into the fact that she let him walk Charlie after brunch. The poor guy is just whole-soul yearning for a dog to wrestle and snuggle. Someday.


After Betsy had to “go home” or whatever, we walked on (and on, and on) to Georgetown, so we could stop at Baked and Wired. There was an enormous gorgeous-day line, and my instinct on seeing it was to turn back, a little sad. M refused, and stood with me in the sunshine for an absurdly long time. He’s been like that, lately. Willing to wait, more attuned. I truly wanted a sweet thing, and instead I got two: a peanut-butter brownie, and a stretch of downtime with a man who normally can’t stand still.


Saturday night, we went to Renee and Chris’ apartment to grill on their deck. Or, the men grilled, and then we all curled around the fire pit and planned: upcoming weddings and lake weekends, the kind of things that even planning them makes you feel like you’re spreading out your blessings in your lap like a weighted blanket. They’re getting married soon, and even sooner, we’re all flying to a beautiful island to watch two more friends say “forever.” This summer is the fruition of many wishes for people I love. Cannot wait.

Eventually we ventured out of our cocoon, because they wanted to take us somewhere I’d feel really comfortable: The Star and Shamrock. I prefer to frequent  establishments that honor both sides of my heritage, you know? I’m a balance-seeker.


We’re also experimentors, and apparently “picklebacks” are a thing. As in, a shot of whiskey + a shot of pickle juice, and I have to say…not that bad. It probably helps to be the person who stood in front of the open refrigerator eating handfuls of  pickles out of the jar as a child, but everyone else managed theirs, too. By which I mean M and Chris actually shot their shots, and Renee and I sipped ours because we are ladies. Ladies who helped demolish the reuben-and-latke sandwich that subsequently arrived at our table, but M ordered it, so all the calories belong to him.


Sunday morning, we met Danielle at Busboys and Poets for brunch. Let me just inform you that this is a bookstore focused on social activism located inside a restaurant with sweet potato pancakes. It’s kind of mandatory.

Truthfully, I was a hermit in law school: doing the actual work and remaining pleasant enough that M wanted to stay married to me sapped all my emotional energy. I value human connection, and it’s strange to admit that I passed through that life period without accumulating many real friends. However. The people with whom I did weather hours-long Starbucks endurance sessions are wonderful and witty and to this day, I view them as the lifelines that got me through. I don’t see or talk to Danielle anywhere near enough, but it almost doesn’t matter? Which is a horrible thing to say, but she knows what I mean in the same way she could sit next to me in Constitutional silence and then know when to look up and start talking about The Bachelor. She’s balanced and brilliant and I like her kind of a lot.


So, Sláinte and L’chaim to all of it: Spring and old friends and the beauty of being out of yourself in a new place, even for just a day or two. Or like, four…we’re going back this weekend.


After a Breath

Things are better, now.

Everyone who murmured “baby steps” was right. And I’m taking mine, with an akimbo gait you can probably see from space. Just a colt, each shaky, awkward step skidding a micron closer to a run.

I’m starting to see the patterns; the city’s onslaught and undertow are starting to knit themselves into a balance. Take the subway: the running of the humans in this underground Pamplona is actually a dance. You lock your eyes on the middle distance and set your pace, and suddenly you’re a laser. The white beam of your trajectory crosses over and under the rainbow spectrum of your fellow travelers, and you just follow your line. The eyelash-breadth of personal space isn’t a rudeness. It’s a result of the many working as a whole. You take a stutter-step when necessary, but you keep your eyes forward, and learn to feel the graze of purses and overcoats as what they are: pieces of other people on their journeys.

Yesterday it was forty-five degrees and we wandered in the drizzle, pushing through the slippery beaded curtains of the rain. We sipped coffee and bought the fifth and sixth books of our month here, all from the same greybeard who’s starting to look happily askance at us every time we walk in. Every corporate, stuffy task in the world to accomplish but no real deadline to rein us in, we stumbled into bacon scrambles and brussel sprouts. We sat in a tea shop and figured out what it is, more or less, that I’m supposed to do with my life. We walked all over the lower part of the city, and then when it began to pelt, we retreated. Up the stairs, light a candle, bottle of wine.

One month, which is both forever and a second. I can do the subway with my eyes closed, and if I turn the wrong way on a sidestreet, I am totally at sea. I have a gym, a routine, an office, a closet, and when I turn my key in the door and walk inside, there is a secondary click of rightness in my stomach. I love small spaces. They focus you. There isn’t room for internal wandering; the force of your life pushes up against the walls so that you feel turned outward, made bigger, by necessity.

And once out: you are in everything. Isn’t it amazing, how the human mind can view the same intersection four times, five times, as a sonic boom of overwhelm, and then the sixth time you round the corner, the sick little lurch is just gone? And instead, it all looks like luck. What an incredible thing, this city. This place where any two blocks could support a perfectly serviceable little town, and yet the carpet of cookies and theaters and knishes unrolls before you so far and so long that you have to give up, charley-horsed, before you can grab its edges.

I’ve been trying to unravel this transition, to figure out how I could be so choked up and displaced and then…fine. It is time, but it’s more than time. It’s one over-the-edge experience after another, plus the smallish rituals of your life. A stranger on the street yells at you for smiling, and you walk inside and retrieve your mail. You wake up and drink coffee, and commute into a national landmark. You call your mother while looking out over the lights of Manhattan. The spikes and smooth corners of the days settle on top of each other until you look at the topography of your life and, at some second that makes no logical sense, it is familiar enough. You recognize it as your own.



I pass the cronut bakery every day on the way to the subway. Let’s start with that.

This is the part I can’t wrap my head around yet. I’m trying to latch onto something, to familiarize myself with a neighborhood, a drycleaner, the sound of my keys in the door. But then on every street, the blazing attractions of the city crop up and I am disoriented. Is this a commute or a destination? Am I on vacation or does this belong to me, now?

I haven’t really gone outside. The transition at work has been swift and heavy, and my after-work exploring has been of the backseats of yellow cabs. But even there, it creeps in, this city’s magic. I’ve been driven home each night by a Greek chorus of men with beautiful voices, from Jamaica and Puerto Rico and Charlotte and the Bronx. Every one laughs the same delighted way, when I reveal how recently I’ve come. “Well! Welcome,” they grin into the rearview mirror. “Cali-for-nia! What a change.”

*   *   *   *   *

We haven’t been seeing much of each other. I’ve been padding out in the mornings before he wakes up, to go shake off my confusion at the gym. Endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t second-guess their monumental life changes when it’s too late. But when I click our door back open (second try: remember, it goes to the left!), he’s pulling on a sweater and giving a kiss and bounding off to drink from the fire hose again. I am proud of him, of his ambition and his work ethic, and his desire to stretch his brain in unprecedented directions. And I also would love to eat a meal with him, to hear how his parallel new life has been unfolding. This is completely uncharted territory. Always, before: we were together and I was a boundless well of empathy. I can hear the scrape at the bottom now, and it terrifies me.

*   *   *   *   *

The volume of the city is staggering. Not the decibels, but the sheer unfolding columns of people and their cubic output. The daily continuing is a regular-sized miracle: the piles of trash, enough on each street for a village, whisked off to oblivion by the beeping trucks that grind through our dreams. The crush of commuters piling into a subway car and leaving the platform bare, only to be replaced in a laughably short second by a doppelgänger crowd. None of it ever stops, or sleeps, or even thinks about taking a break. You take very deep breaths on the subway, and in your apartment, and you start thinking of a restaurant space more as temporary real estate than a table. This is mine, for right now.

I can sit here and take it in.



First Missive

So, it is very cold.

I was going to say, “let’s just get that out of the way,” but it is seventeen degrees here. There is no shuffling that off to the side, and no ignoring that I am once again the person who vehemently demanded to leave Boston and the cold that tried to scrape my face off. That person went home and lolled under a few palm trees and she got soft. Forgot all about how a three minute walk can make you forgo breathing, the frost slicing against your nose and challenging your need for oxygen. Forgot all about the taxi, a modern marvel. Not just the gears and transportation; it’s the shelter and the chance to collect yourself that are mind-blowing. They impart strength, in that that you are not freezing right now, and give you the grace to accept the fact that you will be, soon. That’s crucial, the ability to build up an internal well of well-being such that outside forces cannot immediately hit your core.

And yet, there is more to this NYC introduction than loss of core body temperature. Loss of dignity, for instance.

Professionally, this move was just a transfer; one office to another, one firm, no big deal. But I live inside my own head, which is one giant bubble of interpersonal trepidation, and walking in on my first day loomed pretty large.

I woke up feeling queasy at the thought of navigating the subway system for the first time during rush hour, so I hopped in a taxi. The driver deposited me in front of a concrete skyscraper, so I screwed up my courage, all “Three bucks! Two bags! One me!” Only, wait…this wasn’t the right address. So, I paced up and down the street, committing the ultimate tourist sin of looking up and meeting a lot of new friends via their passing shoulders. Back and forth. Is this it? No, now I’m on a completely different street, this can’t be right. Finally, I realized my mistake (a building tunnel connecting one street to another) and set off. Two steps in, my foot gave a little tell-tale dip; the whole heel of my left shoe had decided it wanted no part of this adventure and ripped almost completely off.

Obviously, you can’t start a new adventure without a pratfall or two. “Hi, nice to meet you, I’m the girl from LA who can’t make it in the city for 24 hours without literally falling over her own feet.” I spent the rest of the day on mock pointe, trying to be really fascinating so people wouldn’t notice what was transpiring at floor-level. Did it work? No. My next door neighbor took one look at my mangled heels and sighed, “Ah, rookie mistake.”

However. She then took me to sushi, and was kind and fortifying and told me all the office gossip. And my officemate is funny and normal and appears to not eat tuna fish sandwiches or any other unpardonable sin. And this is the view from our window. So, bring it on, New York. I can already jaywalk with the best of them, broken heels or none.



New Scents

If there ever were an experience to make you question every life choice you’ve recently made, attempting a cross country move would have to top the charts.

What are all these lurking objects in my closet, and why do I own a single one of them? What electronic device do these cords attach to, and why have they been allowed to breed into a pile of wiry, inseparable snakes? It’s a truly gross feeling, being overwhelmed by stuff. I don’t feel like a particularly indulgent consumer, but then…from whence comes this overpowering number of smallish things?

It’s my own fault. When we moved to Long Beach, I was adamant about needing a second bedroom. “For everyone to visit,” like it was this obvious and inalienable right. It hadn’t sunk in, apparently, that we were going home. When we saw our friends and our families, it would be at the drop of a hat, and when they were tired, they’d just…go back to their own apartments. In a car, not a plane.

But that second bedroom was also a terrible office. The room didn’t get a lot of light, and the IKEA coffee table we inserted as a chair wasn’t very ergonomic (since it was, in fact, just a block of wood). So, it ended up being just…space. Extra room for things to accumulate, because the closed door meant we didn’t have to deal right then. Some of that expanse I’m grateful for: all our coats and scarves from Boston could be bundled away, and there was room for a grown-up vaccuum cleaner. Some of it was less intelligently used: boxes and boxes of wedding memorabilia and poorly filed papers and oh Lord, I am drowning.

We are not good with nostalgia; we already plan where we’ll live in LA after we move back from New York. Keeping things around feels like a weight, and a frustrating one. Committing to this move, throwing ourselves across the country into a new adventure…it necessitates lightness. A spirit for adventure is weighted down by things; stumbling over errant Frisbees and ancient birthday cards scrapes the gleam off the new.

And I obviously see what I’m doing here–preparing myself to love a shoebox by demonizing California space we didn’t need. I don’t care. The movers have come and gone, and yesterday I cleaned up the packing tape rubble, left the keys inside and drove away. It was spitefully gorgeous outside, the ocean audibly crashing and the air heavy with salt. It’s alright. We’ll never get this apartment again, never stand on that deck and look out over an almost Morrocan rooftop jumble with palms shooting up in between. We’ll be standing on a fire escape instead. We’ll smell roasting chestnuts and the iron of bridges and the sweat and perfume of a thousand people who all decided to see what might happen. That tapestry is worth this trade. One hundred times over, I would give up what I’ve built so far to see how the new pieces might fit together.

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