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6.19.2017

At the close of nine years

I'm moving to Texas in less than two months. I've lived in Long Beach now for nine years. Already I have stacks of books covering my dining room table that I'll be reading for my PhD program in the fall. I've quietly begun the tedious work of sorting and cleaning everything in my little apartment. I'm scheduling all of my last days with friends, moving through my calendar in reverse order from when I expect to slip into my car and drive away.

This is the longest I've lived in one place, so I've never really experienced a leaving quite like this before. I remember the day I left Wheaton, closing the bedroom door on my best friend, walking down to Chaeli's car so she could drive me to the airport. (The greatest grace of Texas is that she will be there. Some friends we never lose completely.) I remember leaving California for Scotland—walking away from my mother in the Palm Springs airport. We leave people who have changed us, and we leave places that have witnessed us change. It's not easy.

And there's no coming back. I drive down Broadway on my way home from work, catch sight of the mural in the alley, and wonder if, in five years, the same sight will make me feel sentimental. Will remind me of what I left behind. But we're always leaving, even when we stay still. That's what time does. It perpetually moves everything from experience to memory. Where I was two years ago was also precious, and it's been gone a long, long time.
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