I just got back home from visiting mom and dad for the weekend - well, part of the weekend. I cannot believe that it has been almost 3 years since I moved out here. I can so clearly remember when we packed up my car for the big move. It's not even that far from them (a rather quick 3-hour drive), but at times - like right now - I feel like I'm living on the other side of the country. It was a cold and cloudy afternoon in February. I think it was a Sunday. My little car was packed and I was ready to leave. I was so scared and so sad, because unlike all the other weekends I pulled out of that driveway, I was not coming back two days later. This was for good.
Patrick and I ate dinner that night with his parents. Not only was I nervous about starting my first day at my new job, but I was experiencing the most bizarre lightheaded, out-of-body sensation. What am I doing here? When can I go home? Who are these people sitting at the table with me? Where's my family? I want my family. We got back to Patrick's house, where I would be staying until my apartment was ready. I was freaking out and ended up doing things on autopilot - picked out my clothes for the next day, made my lunch (unable to locate the jelly for my pb & j sandwich; who has the pb in their house without the j?), made sure I had all of my legal/financial documents needed for that first day of a new job. I went to sleep. At least I think I did.
Next morning, I went to work. It was a blur, but I do recall that Patrick dropped off a brand new jar of grape jelly for me. This made me smile - the only bright spot in that entire day. The people were weird and I wasn't sure I would ever be able to handle the projects I would be in charge of. Why did I ever up and quit one of the best jobs I'd ever had? By the end of the day, I was exhausted, frightened, hungry, and lonely. Walking out of the building toward my car, I relished in the cold, bitter air that hit my face. I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad. "I don't think I like this. I think this was a huge mistake," was what I desperately wanted to share with him. But I couldn't. I faked like it was an OK day. I told him about my new co-workers and that the work seemed interesting, but would be an adjustment. He told me, like a good father should, to hang in there and to call them tomorrow - maybe things would be better (I knew he could sense the apprehension in my voice). As soon as I hung up, hot tears filled my eyes. I sat in the parking lot of my new job and sobbed - alone. Had I just made the biggest mistake of my life? I have no family, no friends, no connection to the past 30 years. The crying didn't stop there. I cried all the way home (a home that wasn't really mine), while I sat in the car and waited for Patrick to pick up the pizza, while I ate the pizza, and while I got ready for bed. I cried until my head ached and my eyes swelled shut. It was a bad day - a day I don't like to think about. A day that no one close to me even knows happened.
Visits to see my family are a blast - we laugh, go out to eat, and always hit the bookstore. The down side is that once I leave, I feel an emptiness. It's usually not so bad when I leave with Patrick. Today's trip was by myself. I had 175 miles to think about how much I miss them (I'm crying right now and think I should stop writing).
I've wanted to write about this day that occurred almost 3 years ago, but never had the courage. So now I did. It's out of my system. I really don't want to think about it any more - it's just too difficult. So now I will turn my attention to something a bit less emotional - the dirty dishes in the sink and what Patrick and I will be having for dinner tonight.