Sunday, January 23, 2011

One Year Home

By 9 a.m. on January 22, 2010, I’ve crammed my Jeep with everything I own: a large closet’s worth of sweaters, dresses, T-shirts, jeans and high heels; photos of friends and family in hand-crafted picture frames; a keyboard my uncle shipped me from North Carolina in hopes I’d start playing again; a rocking chair my grandfather carefully built and surprised me with after my college graduation; years worth of scrapbooks; and boxes of San Francisco newspapers and magazines, which graciously published some of my first real news articles.

But when all that’s left to do is walk out the door and drive across the Bay Bridge and over the border and into Oregon—I cant. I forget how to breathe. Overwhelmed, I sink into my leather couch and set down my over-sized, overpriced vinyl purse, which explodes with the smaller items that don’t have a place in the car. I’m alone in the quiet loft, the excitement from just a day earlier vaporized. All I feel now is empty. Sad. Cold, like the concrete floor of my condo. What will I do in Oregon?

Tears drown my tired eyes.

The decision to move home was sudden, and now I’m questioning it. I’m about to close the door to a life I’ve worked so hard to build. A life with good friends, a great job, and a beautiful place to live, all in the most electrifying, romantic and refreshing city I’ve ever known. But why?

Now the tears skate down my shivery cheeks.

From my wallet, I pull out a crinkled, hand-written letter from my dad. He gave it to me before I was even a year old, when he was just 28, and I’ve carried it with me for as long as I can remember. I scan the disintegrating piece of paper for my favorite part: “My only wish for you is that you be happy. Life is a smorgasbord, an adventure, so don’t be a bystander—jump in with both feet. If that jump ever turns out to be a mistake, Daddy will always be here to catch you. Always. I love you.”

I’ve never been a bystander. Suddenly I realize leaving San Francisco means starting an entirely new chapter of this adventurous smorgasbord, and I’m excited again. After a few deep breaths, I snatch my car keys from the coffee table, walk outside, close the door to my condo—and to the beautiful City by the Bay—and open the door to my perfectly romantic, incredibly industrious, absurdly happy life in Portland, Oregon.

This is one jump that's not a mistake.

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  1. Pretty story!!! That note from your dad was sssssooooo sweet! I love your writing too....reminds me of something from a good ole Fern Michaels book.

    -new follower...hiiii-

    Chymere H.