I said it as a joke to my boss on a Friday, regarding my weekend plans.
There was nothing, there is nothing, dictating my schedule, or even my decision to stay or go. I had said from the beginning of the job that I wanted to move back east, at some point, and that point felt like maybe it might be closer. So in the interests of being responsible and giving a considerate notice, I said in a wry manner that I’d go on a vision quest over the weekend. His look said he took it seriously in spite of my tone.
Then I forgot, and did my usual routine, including the hike to the top of a little mountain in a city park. Before I started up the trail, I did remember to ask for help knowing what to do. And then I forgot again. At the rocky summit I decided to nestle in a cleft off to the side, in a patch of shade. In a spot out of sight of most, but in full view of my nook, R.I.P. MOM. was spelled in vivid red on a slab of basalt. In decades of coming here, I’ve never seen graffiti on this summit, it is pristine. I stared, and my chest hurt, acutely.
Upon my arrival back in town from New York almost four years ago, I spent most of the rest of my retirement savings to make a beautiful ‘grandma’s house’ for gatherings. I chose a place that opened onto a common meadow surrounded by forest where my grandson might play, and where deer did lie in the shade of an ancient apple tree. I spent my spare time while waiting to reconnect with loved ones puttering; I made a patio and got a barbecue. I still believed I could lead us to rebuild bridges, that I must, though nobody had asked me to come back. Almost four years later, I’ve not seen my grandson, and no family gatherings ever happened there. I’ve been shunned, and not only by family.
I can admit now that the truth about my first ‘excellent adventure’ was that I was fleeing domestic violence. I had spent ten years working the 12 Steps as a co-dependent, since the people who were in charge of my husband’s rehab said I needed it too, though I don’t abuse any substances. It was a harmful experience for me, and by extension, our children. I did not stand up for myself, and things got worse.
Since those days, I’ve done many things to redeem my lack of enduring success in life. I’ve run back and forth and up and down this country with Janet. That’s when I first registered this domain name, thinking it would be fun. My god. I left a trail of blood that nobody seemed to see. I never started a website. I was so ashamed of my failure. I did not renew the domain registration.
The other day, I sent messages to my son and daughter to tell them I’m going. Neither has responded. If I am dead to them, it’s the part of me that needed to die. The part that believed that I needed to redeem myself.
I am very glad to have this post over with, so thank you for bearing with me.
And so, tomorrow is my last day at the bank. I am sad to leave them, and glad of that. I have enjoyed being a part-time teller with this crew, very much. I have sold all of my household furnishings, found a rented room, put my books and papers in storage, and given away the rest. People I barely know have wished me well, and I’ll happily take those wishes. After three years of not feeling welcome in my home town, these last nine months of being welcome at the bank have helped to give me the freedom I needed to move on.