September

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When I told my mom that a lady was moving to Colorado to live me with her first question was, “Does she love you?” If it were me, I’d have asked about the girl. But, I suppose mothers want to make sure their sons will be taken care of, no matter by whom.

My girlfriend’s name is Rachel. It was a quick decision for her to come here, but one that did not weigh heavily at all. We simply wanted to be together, and here in Colorado was the best place for that to occur – in a 425 square foot studio apartment (where I had been living alone for the prior year), three blocks from the state Capitol.

It has been a month or so now and things are strangely wonderful. We bicker sometimes, but such is the nature of confined spaces - our bickering remains mostly good-natured. The plan was to find a bigger place right away. Since my lease would be up at the end of August we had a month to find it. We started feeling the pressure of time. Then, other pressures came. I hurt my back and had to stop running. I started feeling like I was gaining weight. I was feeling some pressure at work. Rachel bounced through several jobs as soon as she arrived. We shared concerns about money, and foolishly spent more to compensate (we both spend frivolously when we’re stressed – a bad response to being stressed about money). There have been a few tense moments. But, we always take a moment to breathe and talk it over.

The decisions Rachel and I have made have been naturally occurring. Like dominoes, each move forward was preceded by a move that dictated the next. We wanted to be together, now we are. We wanted a bigger place, so we started to look for one.

I was unsure of whether or not to use dominoes as an analogy, because it is based on a succession of collapses, eventually ending. It seemed ominous. But I wonder if that is the nature of all paths: the prior moment falls to propel you forward, and when the path ends, it leaves behind a winding path only limited by what you can dream up. Consider that the only really interesting part of a domino chain is watching it play out – just like in those moments when you’re falling into that next unexplored second. It is often so fast that your eyes don’t know what to watch. You just have to try. The only flaw of the analogy is that domino paths are preconceived. Real life is not.

September will always give me a feeling of a new start because I associate it with going back to school after the summer. So it is a fitting time of year for big changes. I just hired my first employee. Rachel is starting a new job. My back is feeling better. We’ve been hitting the gym again. We’ve kept a better hold of money (sort of). And we landed an apartment that is soon-to-be-vacated by a friend who just got a new job in New York City. He just happened to be moving out when we would need to be moving in. (I guess some dominoes are out of your control and can still fall in your favor. Call it kismet.) It has a fireplace and a black & white checkered kitchen floor. We love it. We move in two days.

When I called my mom to tell her the news her attitude was a little different. Her voice turned soft and I could hear the smile on her face. “Take care of each other,” was her only advice.

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