It’s Monday after a weekend away.
I wiggle out of my spot as the little spoon, sit on the edge of the bed, and feel my muscles vividly because of all the fun we had together the past two or three days. Walking and walking and driving and driving. My neck, in particular, seems to be pulling in a certain direction that I blame on the 3+ hours behind the wheel. So I stretch the other direction hoping to even it out.
I haven’t lived in this house long enough to have the muscle memory required to make it down the hall without waking everyone and so I flinch every time I hear the floor creak. My eyes catch a glimpse of movement in the other room. The cat is in my her office, sitting in the window, watching the rain droplets join each other and trail down the glass—her head bobbing up and down, following them one by one.
I’m happy to have a rainy, gloomy day. I like it when the weather matches my mood like this. As if you’re living in a movie of your own life that someone carefully orchestrated. Later, I’ll listen to Alexi Murdoch songs because he’s so good at rainy, not exactly sad, but not exactly happy songs.
I’m always a little bit sad when I leave Kansas City. Every single time. I have friends, there, that I catch up with who have known me and loved me through some of my most tumultuous times. Times when I was learning myself in ways that required sickening amounts of grace from bystanders. Times when I let other people treat me as terribly as I believed I deserved. Times when they could have joined a few others and left me so easily. And they should have. They would have been completely justified in doing so. We’re not family—at least we weren’t at the time. There’s no obligation to stick with someone you just met who doesn’t know that drama and anxiety and anger and hopelessness are things that can be treated. I was a very emotional person. And they never punished me.
I still am a very emotional person but after age and therapy, I’ve learned a little bit more about how to control it in ways that will keep it from ruining my life. As long as I keep up with my various prescriptions, my irrational outbursts keep to a minimum. It put me in a place where I can give others the gift that these friends gave to me. Unconditional love is not easy. Especially a decade’s worth of it. These women deserve a party. These people deserve, at least, lunch, a pedicure and a walk down Massachusetts Street, and a blog post dedication. These women did the hard work in teaching me how to be a woman that I’m proud of. There is so much love in me and it’s due, in no small part, to the women that I very intentionally wrap around me.
And so I always mourn them when I drive away. When I sit in my living room that is not their living room. But I get to smile and laugh at the eight inches of InStyle magazines on my desk that Jamie collected for me and I get to have memories of Alyssa’s daughters singing to me and I get to feel that security that comes from loving someone fiercely for over a decade. Loving them so much that you can hold on even when things don’t make sense because in time it will either shake together or if it doesn’t, there’s no pain in asking rather bold questions for the sake of clarification. There are no hard feelings when inevitable bitterness sometimes elbows its way in. There’s always room for that—but it’s not going to set up camp, here, because we only get to be together just a little while and it’s unwelcome.
These are the women in my life who have lived with me all the way and have proven to me that love—real love—unconditional, will-not-stand-for-your-bullshit, you’re-safe-to-be-yourself kind of love will always pay off and will always draw you in, together.
And when I leave at the end of the weekend, I’m always going to leave a little tiny bit of my heart in Kansas City.