I’m camping indoors and counting down the sunsets. Saying goodbye, which is strange, given how unnecessary goodbyes seem in this day and age. But there I go — every bus ride, every meal out, has a weight it didn’t before and one it might not deserve. Bye, Lucky’s Pho, you have great sandwiches. Bye, Moon Temple, I’m sorry they’re tearing you down and replacing you with a CVS. Your jukebox, sardonic Chinese bartenders, and general aura of trashiness will be missed. Bye, Lake Union and Olympic National Park and the ferry to Bainbridge. You are more beautiful than should be allowed.
I moved to Seattle five years ago because I felt the universe gave me too many reasons to. A purple shirt, a chance encounter on a New York City sidewalk, the view of Mt. Rainer from Red Square. I leave now with less certainty leaving is my fate — there was no sign in the sky, no matter how many Lean In jokes my colleagues make. There is only this: I wanted to leave, and then I did. And then — to paraphrase Sheryl Sandburg, because, fine, Lean In was kind of a big deal to me — I learned that I could.
Tonight will be sunset number 3, as in three, two, one, takeoff. Tonight I’m sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of my room, which is scattered with things that don’t seem useful now but I am told will be, things like a Steripen and a map and a Swiss Army knife. I keep picking up the map of the Philippines and pretending to study it, pretending I can plan to go from this island to that island, this cousin to that one, pretending I have any idea what I’m doing. I do not. I am simply choosing to go. I am grateful for the privilege of choice, stunned to use it, and scared because it occasionally feels like what I am really doing is throwing myself off a cliff. But so here we are.
Bye, backyard, from which Dean once observed you can see three different modes of transportation, four if you count buses. Bye, Allegro, College Inn, Suzzallo, and all the other places where I have sat and thought, drunk or sober. Bye, Grace House and 6253 and La Paz and all the other places I have made home.
Bye, Seattle. You are more beautiful than should be allowed.
Bonus: Moon Temple’s Sad Fate
P.S. Tumblr friends: smooshsblog, like my undergraduate experience, is at an end. I will be blogging now over at juliemendel.com, cause I’m fancy like that.