Throughout the whole thing, from the first electoral votes to the president's late night speech, Nici and I are talking, talking, talking: children, joy, mistakes, near-misses and a boy in the Bering sea. We talk about writing, about putting our lives out in public, how tricky and rewarding and brazen and funny it is.
And the stories- the back and forth tennis match of stories that only stop because our eyes cannot stay open. From the moment we met, the instant recognition, her daughters jumping up into my arms and resting their heads against my neck, it was obvious that we would never exhaust our supply of stories.
The girls tug me into the kitchen where Nici is at the stove making pancakes and strong coffee from Black Coffee roasters, unfazed by the meager hours of sleep behind her. She pours me a cup, and then another and another. We sit in the chilly sun room as the two little girls run trains between our feet. The sun rises over the hill and my blood is half caffeine.
digthischick, for a few years now. Maybe it's our relative proximity in this Northwest corner of the country, but I knew from the start that one day we'd be sitting at the kitchen table, catching up like old friends. It's just funny that I visited her now.
After splitting with my wild boy, I felt a deep and unsettling homesickness. How bizzare to feel homesick when you're already home.
Heartbreak is like standing in a familiar room, happily ensconced in your life, in your routine, and then the light switch is thrown and suddenly you're in the dark, blinking and disoriented. It's the same place- nothing has changed, nothing has moved- but now it feels foreign, rearranged, not yours.
You can't believe it just yet, but you're not always going to be frozen there in the dark. Your eyes will adjust over time; you'll find other sources of light. But until that happens, you feel so sad. You don't know what to do next, or even where to place you foot to take a step, because you can't even see. Your hands press up against the walls and you refuse to let go, too scared to walk blindly into that place you used to call home.
But I knew enough to get out. And I went to Nici. We'd never met, but her humor and warmth glowed through her words and images. I let go of the walls, found my way to the door, and went to Montana.
Somewhere on that Greyhound between Kalispel and Missoula, the sadness evaporated. It just never showed up, even though I was waiting for it. It must have stepped off the bus in Kicking Horse for a cigarette and never got back on. When Nici threw her arms around me on a sidewalk outside of town she also, without me even noticing, reached over and flipped a light back on.
We already knew so many bits and pieces of each other, and meeting in person was like stringing them all together, making them whole.
The sadness still comes and goes, now that I'm back home. But it's not as bad as it was, not nearly so. My city is in the dismal throes of November, but it's not an island. It's connected by railroads and highways to smaller towns that stay bright, even in the winter, and filled with snow and open space. Enormously generous people live there, and they are there when I need them.