My car is packed, again. It took four beers and a few hours to move all my shit from the Denver apartment to the Volvo S60. The gratitude I have for the fact that nothing busted or popped or went awry on the 16 hour drive here, to Michigan, is enormous.
At 6am, I met Katie for coffee and a croissant at a shop in Denver. It was like any other morning – our habit has been to meet up sporadically through the day: a morning breakfast; a work day coffee break; after work tv show and dinner; a vodka-something at night. Often I would meet her multiple times a day, in intervals. My heart is aching thinking about it, wondering if in another three years we will magically arrive in the same city, at the same time, with the same deep rooted friendship. I miss her.
I drove 16 hours with Blue (now half-the-time-called-Azul) through new parts of the country: Nebraska, Iowa, the same Illinois, the little bit of Indiana, then I-94 and the Oakland exit to Kalamazoo. I'm here.
Blue/Azul and I walked in the back door, made it halfway down the basement steps before both of aunties dogs were up and barking. A quick hug and I popped downstairs so she can sleep and I can try to calm my mind.
I love these long drives during transition. The first was Michigan to Mississippi, and since its been a long list of day long drives between major phases of life. Today the hours skipped ahead – by the time I was two hours from Auntie's I was nervous for it to end. I was unprepared. I was already nostalgic for the wide highways a orange full moon.
Recently I said to a friend, I like the weight of you, and he said I like the double meaning in that, and I can't get it out of my head. It's how I feel about Michigan: the weight of it.
I feel warm and familiar and wrapped up and loved. I feel secure and confident and like I know my way around emotionally and physically and geographically. I grew up in this city as much as my hometown; I lived here for five years. The weight of it a thick, cocooning blanket. A humid cloud hovering.
And yet, the weight of it has me immediately crying. I feel my mother here. She is all over this house, in photos and in footsteps and in the backyard. She's in the driveway and on the couch and in the bed beside Auntie. She has a glass of pink wine in the kitchen and she's sitting in front of a Christmas tree. Shes vibrating with anticipation for the drive and ferry to Beaver Island (where Auntie and I are going in a few days). She's walking the dog down the street; she'll be back in a minute, or an hour, or never.
I wish my mom was here, to celebrate her birthday. To meet my dog. To yell at me for not having a job. To help me figure out money. To hug me and try to get me to talk. I wish I had gotten more advice from her when I could, I wish I –
The weight of it, with family and familiarity and history comes expectations, and pressure, and a person looking at you remembering your birth and your adolescence and your emerging adulthood all at once. Being with an Auntie who knows me probably better than I know me. It's important, and I'm grateful, and it's heavy.
I can't wait to wake up in the morning and see the garden with a cup of coffee. To go running with my dog through the woods down the street, to apply for a few part time jobs and for my passport to be renewed. This is healthy and happy and love. I didn't know any of this was in my system until I started writing. I am so grateful to be here.