I’ve been here longer than anywhere else I’ve stayed, barring San Diego (which doesn’t quite count, since it’s where I come from). It’s been a little over five weeks, in fact.
I don’t know whether to blame it on Bloomington, on Illinois generally, on my own love of comfortability that I can’t shake no matter how hard I try, or on these lovely people who were so easy to fall in among…
…and I don’t know that “blame” is the right word, really…
…for the fact that I’m having anxiety about leaving here in a way that I haven’t felt in a very long time about anywhere.
Jamie says she tells people that she comes from San Diego and they give a sympathetic shudder, saying “I’m sorry” or “Why did you come here?”
Not that she could have known, but this is why. I see it, looking around the table at the people she’s put together for a send-off party for me. (For me, for whom this past month has felt like one long-drawn-out sendoff party of late talks and silly YouTube videos and rolling eyes at things that deserve it, and laughing, and also crying but only a little bit sometimes.)
These people need her, here, now. Just like I needed her, last November, when all I knew that I needed was a new place to live.
They needed cookouts, and yoga classes, and kombucha, and salsa that is way too hot for anyone’s good.
They needed Modern Family and SNL references to keep serious conversation from getting too serious. They needed real gravity where it’s so easy to repeat moralistic bromides.
They needed someone who needed what they have to offer, too. It’s harder to find that than you might suppose.