Thursday, March 3, 2016

"I guess at the end, you start thinking about the beginning."

On a chilly February day, 10 years ago, I listlessly--yet angrily--smashed a racquetball around at the university gym. As I did, those words were echoing in my heart and head as loudly as the little blue ball thwacking against court walls. I had heard them a mere month ago, while on a cruise down to the Caribbean with my boyfriend. Our last day on the ship was a stormy one, and there wasn't much we could do but play cards and watch Mr and Mrs Smith, which is where I had heard the line that was now haunting my heart. In the ensuing month, the end had in fact come--the end of my relationship with my boyfriend, the plans I had made for our life together, the end of my dream of living and dying in Indiana. And I was haunted by our beginning months, the first blush of connection and love and lust, and all the ways it could have gone right but went so horribly wrong instead.

Later that day, I went back to our cold lonely apartment. And soon after that, I found the blog of a newly-divorced woman living in Los Angeles.

"I guess at the end, you start thinking about the beginning."

10 years have gone by, and have led to me here, on this insanely warm March night, sitting in bed, thinking about the end, which is coming up pretty quick. I found myself looking back over the blog of the woman who inspired me to be brave, to keep on keepin' on, to set forth and do what needed to be done, to apply for jobs everywhere--even California. That was the beginning of this California venture of mine, which sprung from an ending. And here I am now--at the end, thinking about not just the beginning of my time here, the choices that brought me here--but the new beginning ahead of me, which actually takes me right back to where I ended before. In Bloomington, Indiana.

"I guess at the end, you start thinking about the beginning."

Am I moving forward? Or am I going backwards? Am I admitting defeat and crawling back a failure? Or am I reclaiming the life that I never really wanted to leave? Of course, I am not returning to the boyfriend of long ago--he is still part of my life, in a beautiful loyal family-friend sort of way--and whatever existence I forge for myself will have to be one that make for myself. No falling in love with a person and the place at the same time. No, this time, I must stay solitary for a good long time, to make Indiana mine.

The beginnings and endings here are so tightly connected it's hard to tell which is which.

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