The Nerve!

The euphoria of the new and different is wearing off and is being replaced, in direct proportion, with anxiety and worry. Not that I’m making the wrong choices, but that I’m not going to be able to afford the move with enough to sustain me until I find work in my new city. Fortunately, my CV is out there and is in the right hands though there’s not much I can do about it until I get in the state. I’ve been assured time and again by my friends there that they won’t let me fall. I believe them, too. But I’m a very stubborn lady and it eats me up in no small degree that I’ll be forced into dependence for the first bit of time there.

And then there’s the sporadic melancholia which seems to have crept up behind me and whispers in my ear from time to time. Sometimes it tickles my eyebrow when I’m asleep, thus waking me up with a new set of thoughts about what and who I’ll miss…and money. Always money.

Three nights ago I was sitting across from a man who reminds me of men (boys then, really) I knew at 16 and again at 25. Eating dinner in a typical, red-walled, mismatched furniture-having casual Chicago Thai joint, having conversations, nothing out of the ordinary. Suddenly, the Charlie Parker that was playing overhead gave way to Joy Division, a band we had in common and was (as we’d discuss much later over beers), perhaps one of the reasons we are even friends.

I suddenly had a flashback to that 16th year of my life sitting across from a boy I loved, my first boyfriend in fact, on Clark Street just south of Belmont the day I learned to drive in the city. We were eating at a now-defunct restaurant called Cafe Voltaire (funnily, the man from whom I sat across at the moment of the memory worked as a cook in the restaurant that replaced it, years before). Cafe Voltaire was a standard, blue-walled vegetarian-friendly cafe with a bookstore in the basement and Joy Division playing overhead. I felt a familiarity in that moment that I’d felt several times before in various city situations, but this one was tinged with a bittersweet sensation – that I’d be leaving it. If I find myself in a Cleveland cafe with Joy Division in the air it will not be the same. I mean of course it won’t but it could be, in that moment, really lonely. And then I got sad.

We finished dinner and then took a walk down the street to a part of town we normally both completely avoid due to the clientele of the establishments there, but in this case I had to go to the bank and I owed him a beer. I took care of business and thought for a moment about the most tolerable bar in the area and decided upon one that most people only find themselves in after last call. I knew the music was good and the beers acceptable though, so we went in, sat down and ordered. One song later, New Order. Specifically, New Order’s ‘Temptation’. A song we’d danced to independently on his porch a few times over the summer’s particularly hot nights (no a/c inside and admittedly I won’t miss that) and a song I’d danced to alone at my favorite late night bar. It’s become a bit of a theme of this past summer, actually. And there it was. And then after that, Depeche Mode. In the span of two hours, I’d stumbled into three seminal bands from my youth in the same part of town I’d known then as I did now, with someone who shares a love for them as much as I do. I got sad again. I would miss these things. These places, people. I was leaving them. And not only am I leaving them for a town I know only as a visitor, but heading to people who as far as I am aware, do not share my love of all things sad and English. It will be lonely.

I’m not doubting myself, here. I’m not reconsidering. I’ve already had one going away party after all, and work has my last day on the books. I am I guess, allowing realism to creep in. No adventure would be complete without some nerves, right? So these are they and I have to feel them. The change is literally in the air, even. Last week we were doing battle with 90 degree days and 80 degree nights but tonight there are frost warnings in the far burbs and all the windows at home are closed because it was just too cool in the house to have them open.

And now, just this second, I went to the cupboard to get a glass for some wine and found that my roommate, who should never be allowed to do housework conveniently enough, has cracked the second-to-last remaining cherry-printed juice glass that I own by stacking them inside one another (who stacks footed glassware?!). Glasses I bought in 2000 when I was getting ready to move to my first Chicago apartment, glasses which with their sunny red cherries began a collection that has grown vastly and which I still keep today. Two of my most treasured kitchen items, one now cracked.

Amazing how when faced with a move, things change around you. I never know if it’s me or life but relationships change, things once precious are rendered banal and your life-shaping favorite juice glass is cracked at the hands of a menace. I know that it’s time to go, but I think I need to feel the sadness and fear in it. And I am.

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