I write I move, I lose people I love, and the world goes on.
I finally made the decision to move to my mom’s, and it took me two years to finally come to terms with that. I knew it was what I needed to do, that all roads led here. It took that time to realize it would be the best, that it would make me happy.
I’ve had to juggle houses for so long, it doesn’t feel right staying in one place. I had to say goodbye to places and people. I’ve said goodbye to a lot of stuff, but the valley has been the hardest for me.
My last meeting, the last time I saw my Education Coordinator. He gave me a book, he told me about how he watched my growth in school. He handed me a folder of some of my most notable high school work. I cried.
I went to the parking lot, wishing I could pause time and say goodbye to every last thing there. Every place I had a special moment. Wishing I could give eternal hugs to every person I had come to know there. I cried.
My mom drove me out to my hometown, a little country town that’s mostly orange trees and cow pastures. We drove past my first house, and my second, third, and fourth. We passed people we once knew, but don’t anymore. Passed my first love’s house, he was out on his porch. Didn’t recognize us. We cried.
We kept driving, stopping in the town where I had been living these last three years. We stopped by my grandparent’s. Then to this Mexican food establishment, I got some of my favorite tacos in all of the valley. Walked by the place Cadence works, by the place Megan’s mom works. By the old residence of a woman, I knew who had to give it up because her cancer got too bad. I walked the streets of a town I had always known, to get in a car and drive to a city where I only knew my mom’s condo and a single barista at Starbucks. I got in that car and I cried.
During that long car ride, I didn’t think about ex-boyfriends or how I am plagued with PTSD. I didn’t think about how much I hated how my grandparents treated me, or that I hadn’t come out to my mom yet.
I thought about how I was leaving behind the only place I had ever lived or grown to love.
I was leaving behind my small town, one that I was so sure would be where I lived for years to come when I had been young. I imagined having a family and working there, I imagined where I would get married there, who I would invite…
But just like how I left Elderwood, and those people forgot me, I left Visalia. Pretty soon, everyone I was close to, they will move on. We will remember things fondly, but they won’t be important anymore.
Now my friends are all hours away from me. Most of my family, too. I sleep on a sofa in a tiny condo and I sit alone and watch tv. I’m really lonely, I’m really frustrated, and I don’t feel loved like I had expected.
In a year and a half, I’ll be an adult. In two years I’ll be off to college. In six to eight I’ll probably be graduating. From there, I’ll live my life. I’ll get a job, make friends, maybe even have a family. There will be holidays and deaths, births and marriages.. But I will never forget the day I left my childhood behind.