I can’t even begin to tell you how ready I was to leave Texas. To put high school behind me. My senior year was unusually full of Suck (although in fairness to my friends, there was a decent amount of Wonderful too) and I needed a fresh start. So my parents and I loaded up our Jeep with all my books and clothes and bedding, and we headed for Pittsburgh. For the next stage of my life.
I don’t remember a lot about the drive, but I do remember one particular moment really well. We were on the freeway, just leaving Houston city limits. I was sitting behind the passenger seat, leaning into the corner, with my knees pulled up to my chest and my head against the window. Outside, telephone poles and used car lots were flying by. Soon they gave way to low, empty grasslands.
I wasn’t feeling scared. But I wasn’t happy either. I was just ready. For something new. And as I stared out the window, the sky gray, the ground flat, I had no clue what that something would be like. I didn’t really care.
College was, as promised, the best four years of my life. I know that isn’t how it turns out for everyone, but I guess I got lucky. I made friends, I had fun, and I learned a ton about writing. I also met the man I plan to marry, and at the end of my senior year, he invited me to move in with him.
So on a hot day in May, I walked across the stage and got my diploma. The next afternoon I loaded up the Jeep once again, now with even more books and clothes and bedding. Alone, I made the short drive to Cincinnati, where my boyfriend was waiting in our new condo.
I cried as I pulled away from my dorm. I didn’t want to let go. I wanted to keep the past, even as I was looking forward to the future with Andy. I thought giving up one thing for another meant losing it forever. Losing that part of myself.
I have purposely not talked much about my job. After all, that can be a dangerous thing to do on the web. But as I announced a few weeks ago, I recently resigned, and yesterday was my last day. I think it’s safe to say that I loved the company where I worked, and I especially loved my coworkers. They were my first friends here in Cincinnati; they made this city feel like home.
I did cry as I drove away from the office. But then a couple guys in the car next to me looked over, and I didn’t want to share my tears with them so I pulled myself together.
After that, it was easy not to cry. Because I wasn’t sad anymore. I realized that I’m embarking on a new stage in my life — a new chapter, if you will — but that doesn’t mean the last chapter isn’t still there, that it isn’t still a part of my story. It is. My coworkers aren’t going anywhere; I’m the one that left. But I can still go back, and I will.
Every last day is also a first.
This is the beginning of my life as a full-time writer. This is a celebration.