Finally. The day has finally arrived. It's not even the eve; it's the actual day I have longed for since May 6th. Salvation. Moving day. In a few short hours (who needs sleep when you have coffee?) I shall return to Boston for the third September in a row. Once again, I'm up at 3 AM, surrounded by boxes containing only my life, typing up my blog. It's so very routine.
Except, well...as corny as I must be, it's not.
This just feels different. I have never packed this much stuff before (the couch and the 32" LCD plasma HDTV really don't help matters). I have never had my dog react the way she did when I started packing up boxes. I never thought about leaving here. Well, no, I've always thought about leaving here, but it's so much different now on the cusp. Hell, beyond the cusp. I'm in the transition right now.
Something about this one feels permanent. It wasn't the usual summer, either. For the last two summers I've had the arduous task of spending as much time with my girlfriend as humanly possible before I had to leave her again. You try to compensate for about eight months away - it's time consuming, to say the least. I remember dropping her off at her house the first time, and I was surprisingly the first to cry (I think because I was the first to talk...please, just let me have that people). Now, there is nothing but anxiousness to leave. I've experienced the Stalin-like nature at the end of relationships, when the other is stricken from the record. I even found a picture she has framed:
It was the first summer that the group (affectionately known as "The Table" since we all sat at the lunch table and we needed to shorten the text in our yearbooks) simply wasn't there. We were all fractioned off into different jobs, activities, locations, drugs, and spiritual missions. You read that last part correctly. There was a very clear disconnect between everyone. Now, the problems of the past started to show. Now, conduct and morality took place of blunts and laughs. Well, not all the time. We are still in college. But it felt like the end of an era. The past just sort of felt more distant than ever before. Our stories from 8th grade weren't just throwbacks brought up in conversation; they were stories about us all the way back in 8th grade.
My life was filled with drama, mostly stemming from the Summertime Players. Two shows, 6 weeks, no life. I can't truly explain to you what a head-trip being a show is without being in it. The closest I can think of as a comparison is being in a foxhole. You see these people every day, you go through a grueling process, and the only people you can turn to are right around you. Relationships get wacky. People become edgy. The seemingly impossible becomes pretty real. I spent more time with this group of people than my friends (by choice or otherwise). It is a learning experience, and I came out with a lot of lessons, most of which apply to the stage. The rest fall in to examining the effect you have on people. You ever know what a phrase, a touch, a smile can do, both positive and negative, especially in the drama-heightened world of...theater. I also learned I could be a grade-A douchebag, but can still pass on Drinkball like the good ambassador I am.
Stemming from my recent experiences with girls, I was in quite a rut. I knew that eventually I would fall for someone again. I knew that at some point I would be with a great girl. I knew that in time these things would happen. Mostly because I had nothing else to really hold on to, and I would like to hope for something good. Then, out of nowhere (meaning the past) came a girl I didn't really expect. And, for the last three days of my time in Jersey, really made me feel like I should hope and I should know that the girls I want are out there. Also, they would spend time with my stank ass. It was a wonderful combination. For that, I thank her. You have given me faith in womankind. Also thanks to Pablo for the roofies in case my faith falls asunder.
This isn't a usual blog, either. It's quiet in the house. The only acoustics are my mom turning in bed, my fingers on the keyboard, and the Sam Adams Summer Ale bottle hitting the dining room table. The common practice would involve playing some music to get me in the mindset, but that won't happen tonight. I can't be bothered. I didn't even use the ole' Sharpie-on-Post-it pre-planning--I hope it doesn't show--with this post. Fair readers, remember how I said I would post the...-its on the wall above my laptop? Here are the results:
And here is by far the best one among them:
What is so strange about this night is the finality behind it all. In high school, there were a handful of people who could not wait to leave the suburban bubble. Day in and day out, all they would talk about is how much they hate it and how they were already one foot out the door. Now, when people have an opportunity to escape, they are home. All the time. It baffles the mind. Some do escape, such as a classmate who now lives in California, and to her I say "good job." She did what she wanted and said she would do. At this point, roughly, she's alone.
For months I have bitched and complained about being back here, for everything from bad endings, no beginnings, no prospects, and no life. The days dragged on, seemingly like an eternity. But now, looking back, it feels like no time at all. Compressed within me are four months of experiences, good and bad, worthless and meaningful, boring and slightly-better-than-exciting. What has happened, almost out of nowhere, is that I grew up. The process is by no means complete, but is really hitting the overdrive right now. Here is the moment I have longed for, and I'm scared.
This could have possibly been the last summer I have in Park Ridge. That is a twenty year tradition that could very well never occur again. My house, my house, might not be my permanent residency for a long time, or ever again. I say goodbye to my dog who is getting up there in age or possibly the last time. I say goodbye to my parents who are becoming less my guardians and more like Grandma, always there, but some distance away. I leave behind the place that molded me, shaped my being. Here I am, being ushered off to Boston, ready to start my life again. This time I don't just pack up my life, I pack up someone else. I know I'm not ready, but no one ever is.
Today I take the plunge into something I have longed for. I've been walking up those giant steps to that diving board for ages. Finally, I have reached that point where you move up and down a little bit and the board bows and bounces against you. I'm looking down at the water below. I hold my breath. Then