Friday, November 02, 2012
Two Months Later. (Part 1)
"Will you help me get my bed set up?" I asked, as I hopped down from the raised platform of what was to be my new bedroom.
"Yes," Adam smirked. "I will help you get everything set up."
"Hey thanks, roommate."
It had all come together in a matter of days. Two months before, on the night of the final break-up conversation with Chris, I sat on Katy's back porch and sobbed that I had no idea what I was going to do. I didn't want to go back up north, and I didn't want to stay in Minneapolis. Going north felt like going backward, I told her, and every single street, building, and patch of sky in the goddamn Minnesota city that I used to love so much now only reminded me of him. I just wanted something entirely new. Something that didn't exhaust me so much, to think of it. And the weirdest and most complicated thing was that even though I was now essentially and effectively homeless, I knew that I had choices.
I just didn't want to have to make any of them.
Here's the thing that was both the best and the worst: My life was in total upheaval. Because I had moved out of Chris' place, I didn't have a place to live. I had a side job that brought in some steady income, but I hated it and had only taken the damn job in the first place because I was hoping that it would somehow relieve some of the stress between Chris and I (it didn't, which made me hate it even more). I had a cat that I loved but might not be able to keep. All of these things put together would create a chaotic stressbomb on its own, but add in a smashed-in heart and it was like...shit, right? All I wanted to do was collapse into a heap and cry for the rest of the year...but instead, I told myself, I needed to find a way to suck it up and get through it in a way that would allow me to come out winning. And the only way to do that was to figure out, as soon as possible, how I was going to get my life back together.
Crisis is a ridiculously effective motivator.
Two days later, Adam - my friend and former Hayward roommate - called to discuss developing plans for the co-working/collaborative space we are planning to open in the spring. The planned location for the biz is the Penthouse of The Pavilion. In the meantime, Adam shared, he would be renting it as a living space. "If you do decide to come back up here again," Adam added, "You know you're totally welcome to live here, too."
As I wrote here last year, the very first time I lived in Hayward (when I was twenty-one) I promised myself after leaving that the only way I would ever move back was if I got to live in one of the two dream living spaces it had to offer. Adam and I lived in the #2 space last year, The Adventure Loft. The Penthouse is #1, but wishing to live there was like saying, "Hey, next year, why don't I just buy a house in the Hollywood Hills?" A.k.a., it's not impossible, but the stars definitely needed to align in order to make it a reality. The Penthouse is an ultra-unique and unbelievable space - high ceilings, great light, and packed with ridiculous features like hardwood floors, skylights, two working fireplaces (one in the living room, one in the kitchen), a Jacuzzi tub in the bathroom, a greenroom, a walk-in closet, and a two-level deck. It's also fantastically furnished and decorated, and in a historic building on Main Street, which gives a front-row seat to all the really great world-class races (Fat Tire, Birkie) and seasonal events (Musky Fest) in Hayward.
So Adam's offer felt, oddly, like getting a big gift that you're not sure you're ready to keep yet. If I had to be in Hayward, that would be the dream place to live...but I didn't know if I wanted to go back up to Hayward. My family's there, and there are things that I love about the place, but I couldn't help thinking about when I had left in February...how I flew out of town, my car all packed up and my eyes bright with this buoyant elation, knowing that my time in Hayward the past summer and fall had brought me Chris, but feeling grateful that now that I was leaving to be with him, I would never have to come back to stay again.
It just all felt...so sad, you know? To think about going back. Like I had failed somehow. Like I couldn't make it, and so here I was, returning once again, tired and defeated, to lick my wounds in a town that I both loved and resented for its familiarity.
So I told Adam that I didn't really know what I was doing yet, but I would see if maybe I could make it work. "I know for sure that I'll come up there when we start getting ready to open the space, but if I come up there now, I have to be able to make a living there until we open," I told him. "So let me see what I can figure out and I'll let you know."
"I think you should just throw all your stuff into the back of your car and take off," Katy said, when I told her about it later. "The one really good thing right now - even though I know it doesn't really feel like it's a good thing - is that you have the freedom to go somewhere you've always wanted to go. And you're smart enough that you can figure it out when you get there, you know?"
"I know," I nodded. "And I think I'm going to do that no matter what - whether it's for a couple of weeks or for long-term. I just want to try and figure out what my end game will be so I'm not stressed about that, too."
So I slept on it. I gave thanks that I had at least a viable option, promised myself that I would leave myself open to any and all plans that came my way, and slept on it.
The next morning I woke to an email from Brad Bohen:
"Ok...I keep thinking I need an agent and you are the person who keeps coming to mind.
Sorry to be direct.
What does this mean?"
It meant that I was probably moving back up to Hayward.
Part 2 -->