A Long Beginning Or A Long Goodbye


I’m packing up this apartment and I want to think about the things that have changed and the things that haven’t. The last time my bed sat unmade, not pushed against a wall, covered in the intimate artifacts of my life – you were sitting on it too. There was the start of something here, in this 100 year old house. There are exciting things about to happen to me that I couldn’t even see yet, but that were big and would expose the way my life could be bigger than I had counted on.

Things are going to change again – it’s not just the move. I can feel the way that some things are over and other things are just starting even if that’s all still in the ether. There’s a goodbye in the air, but I can sense the start of something, too – all unformed. Greetings waiting for the occasion to be born.

What I remember about being in this apartment with you is the way that things felt romantic in a way I hadn’t known before I could feel. Not lovey – but full of excitement and beautiful things, and the feeling of being a good person who understands things in the world in the company of an equal. That was something I hadn’t been brave enough to hope for, and it happened, which means it will happen again.

When I left Big Sur this year I prayed for two things: to take the right things with me and to leave the right things there. There was a healing to that party summer week at the beach – to be around the kind of smart, talented, good people that sometimes feels scarce. The east coast has no shortage of smart, talented people and the midwest has no shortage of good people – but it seems the west coast (at least, north of LA) can have all three.

A lot of life is waiting for the other shoe to drop. You wonder a lot when you will be rich enough, be appreciated enough, have all the things you want and feel all the satisfaction you want. And if you get there, you will invent a way to feel dis-ease so that you can continue to anticipate and daydream instead of the Sisyphean task of attempting to be whole in the impenetrable harshness of imperfection.

But it’s about to be September 1st and I keep thinking about this Bukowski line about how time is always running out on us in every way.

There is the brave hello of change, the irreversibility of a year lease and the intimidation of a rent payment I can’t just scrape together, ad hoc. There is the goodbye of this place, of familiarity – of a ghost, yours, who still takes up space here. There is the courage of acknowledging that good things end before their time, and live on too long in your memory. These are the things I want to take with me, these are the things I want to leave here.