First Impressions

The day before I left Canada, I went into my Safeway, just to say goodbye. There were hugs and tears and well-wishes. Man, I love those girls at my Safeway.

Now that I think about it, many of my most meaningful relationships have been forged in grocery store check-out lanes. It's where I spend most of my time. I do what I have to.

So tonight I had to run into the grocery store by the hotel, which is either spelled HEB or H-E-B or H.E.B., I'm not totally sure, but they make the best cannoli I've eaten outside of Brooklyn, and I don't know any of these people yet. I don't know what check-out lane Audrey works in on Sunday night, or which day Dallas works the customer service counter, so I don't yet know which lane to use for which trip to the store.

I hop into the express lane with my four items and get to the check-out and hand over my purchases to the guy, because they were all guys, and what the hell are the odds of having only men checkers at the grocery store the exact night I am buying only one wine key, Tampax, Kotex and a box of Apple Jacks?

This is how it goes in my world. All the time.

So I say to the guy, "Sorry for making you touch all that stuff, dude" and he says, "Oh, it's okay, but I have to admit...the wine key is kind of throwing me here." And I turn all sorts of red and nervously cackle a little and don't at all make eye contact with the guy again when I shell out my $13.48, which is actually a pretty good price for 20 tampons, 30 pads, a kitchen tool, some sugar coated food coloring and a single serving slice of utter humiliation.

I grab my bag and mumble a rushed "thank you" in his general direction and get about 2.58 steps away when I realize that I am physically incapable of leaving it like that, so I stop, look back over my shoulder, and with an over-exaggerated wink say, "And just so you know, it's the Apple Jacks you ought to have been worried about."

And I'll never, ever go into that store ever again.

Move Is A Four Letter Word

For those of you not particularly versed in my brand of convoluted double-speak, I'm not in Canada anymore.

It's not so much that I got kicked out, per se, as it is that I was asked to hold up my end of a rather large, life altering bargain. That bargain was that as long as my husband was gainfully employed in Socialist, Pot Smoking Gay Loving, Insuring Everyone Canada, we could live and work there. Once his work visa failed to be valid, for whatever reason, we'd agreed in official black ball point ink to vacate the country within 30 days. His visa became unvalidedadated on October 10th. And we hadn't started finishing our applications for permanent residency, so here we are. In the land of milk and honey. The promised land. The land of tolerance and acceptance, unless you have much better sex then all the straight, fat white dudes. Then fuck you.

Where we are isn't important yet, because we're not anywhere yet. We're in the middle of one of thoseextended-stay hotels in the middle of some big city we don't know. We don't have an address yet. We don't have anything yet, except the suitcases we brought with us containing enough clothes and Axe body spray to get us through the next few weeks. And a bunch of towels. Because I'd left 2 towels out for after the people took all our crap away on the vans, which was rather clever of me, so woot, except that I'd checked the dryer before they left with my life in 4X4 boxes, but not the washer, so I got to bring with me an entire load of bath towels, which I don't even want to know how long they sat in that washer.

But some guy named Kevin is driving a rather large van in my direction, and should be here within a week, 10 days max, and he seems like a stand up guy and I certainly hope h is because he's got my car, my china, my Mac and my Lady of Perpetual Hor D'ourves, which is admittedly more important to me than my wedding photos, in which I am the same weight I came in at yesterday fatter than I've ever been in my whole life.

The hotel has a fitness room. I've walked through it 5 times. Baby steps.

I'd left out a bunch of DVD's and the Wii to bring with us, because 800 square feet is really damn big until you put 5 people, who all like to fart, in it. Of course, once the house was empty and we were signing, literally, our life away on a van lines form, we realized they'd packed the Wii and the DVD's. Why? Because on the bottom of that contract, near the dotted line, were in big block letters, VIP ACCOUNT.

Whuuu?

I asked the Kevin dude what that was all about and he said, I dunno, but there it is, and I said, well shit, yo, I guess I should have gone slightly fancier than the box of Happy Meals I brought over for lunch, and we all scratched our butts together for a minute and then he was gone with my very VIP Ikea bedroom furniture and my insanely fancy VIP 4 year old Target wardrobe.

And here we are, bored off our butts, with only the fucking scary as piss movies we bought the kids to watch on Halloween because there's not exactly a good amount of trick or treating to be done in the middle of a corporate extended stay hotel somewhere in the industrial sector of America, and a bunch of new cell phones which were a brilliant purchase if you're not above buying your children off after totally fucking their lives, but not so brilliant in the you have to spend 2 1/2 weeks in an 800 sq foot extended-stay hotel room with 3 antsy kids and two very loud, very much so texting all day and night cell phones.

Pray for me people.

You're My Home

I left you three years ago. In a cloud of righteous indignation, I packed my possessions into a van and my children onto an airplane and with that, I was gone. I never said goodbye to you, and I didn't much care.

My entire world changed when I left you. I saw things, I learned things, that people like me, people from the slums of southeast Philadelphia, seldom know exist. I learned that there is magesty in this world beyond that which I could ever dream or measure. I realized that there is, indeed, a life beyond the borders you'd provided me and I'd accepted without consideration. I loved like I thought I never would, I reveled in the beauty of the life that had always laid just beyond my fingertips, I reached out to the world and it swallowed me whole.

The core of the person that I am has changed in these three years without you.

I dared to allow myself to dream of a life beyond your tumultuous shores. I'd seen the height of you and the breadth of you and depth of you and I still wanted more. I just didn't want it from you anymore. Your peaks and your valleys proved to much for me to bear in the end, our shared history haunted me, our commonalities grew to frightening, and I began to care about you more than I am comfortable caring about anything in this life.

So I left you one sunny summer day with a plane ticket in my hand and your sons and daughters  in my arms and I fully intended to stay gone forever.

Things in life seldom work out the way I plan for them to.

The past few weeks have been a blur of sorting my life into neat, little columns. I've made detailed spreadsheets and official phone calls. I cut my hair off and everything close to my heart out. I turned the treble down and the volume up and sought asylum in the bottom of a bass line, just so I could feel. I did the things I always do when everything I ever wanted is yanked out from under my feet, which happens more often in this life than I care to admit.

And I sit here this morning, typing with torn, chewed fingertips, reconciling myself to the fact that maybe, sometimes, I just want the wrong things and that you are where I am meant to be, for better or worse, for richer or poorer. I have come back home to you, to the very heart of you, your sons and daughters beside me. We are ready for you. We only hope you are ready for us, too.

Goodbye, Cobblestone Road