Since This Has to Start Somewhere

Some folks know how my adventure began, but only a precious few to whom I am still apologizing know the gruesome details. And by gruesome, I refer, as I usually do, to my next-door neighbors (Have I ever told you about my neighbors?) in Butler-Tarkington who had moved in during the summer of 2013 to give me a glimpse into what Hell will be like.

As much as I (still) hate(d) these people, they served two great purposes: 1) They forced me to escape regularly to the convent to write my little book about post-single motherhood that had called my name for three years, and 2) they made me even more desperate to leave Indiana.

I wasn’t even supposed to be here after my son graduated from college and moved away in 2012. I don’t belong anywhere in particular, but I knew I didn’t belong here. For years, I had imagined myself living out my days in Maine. I guess I was overwhelmed with how to make that happen, because the result was a sort of paralysis. I prayed, prayed, and PRAYED for signs from the Universe about the when and where of getting the hell out. The when became more urgent and the where less important each passing day next door to the devil people. As odd as it may sound, they were my primary catalyst for change.

By the start of 2014, I was determined to go but still had no plan. I began seeing a man in Atlanta with whom I had been in a relationship back in the ‘90s. He was making plans to retire to his hometown of Pittsburgh.

In March, a two-month-long housesitting gig in Denver later in the year fell in my lap. I knew a few people in Denver in my field, so I could go there and pretty easily network for a new job. I know great people in Boulder and Denver, and I might just have fun. Cherry on top: I’d be closer to my son in Utah.

MY SIGN. Finally. I would put everything I owned in storage in Indianapolis for the time being and head to Colorado. MY OUT. And not a bad out at all.

Man: “What are you going to do after Denver?”

Me: “I don’t know. That depends on finding a job.”

Man: “What about us?”

Me: “I don’t know. For now, you come visit me. And I’ll visit you when you get settled in your new house.”

Man: “Why don’t you put your stuff in one of those PODs? That way you can be more mobile. It’ll be easier to move when you know where you’ll be.”

Me: “Because it’s cheaper to just do storage for now. And I won’t be working initially.”

Man: “I’ll pay for it.”

Me: “Why?”

Man: “Because I’m hoping you’ll come be with me.”

Me: “That’s so nice. But it’ll just be cheaper for me to...”

Man: “You let me worry about cheaper.”

This had never happened to me before. Someone with a deep voice and noteworthy forearms offering to do something, pay for something, take care of something, make something easier? This wasn’t the first time my head had spun, nor would it be the last.

So, to speed up this tale to Kick-Off Adventure Day (KOAD, for short)....

It was a dark and stormy night.

Actually, it was a fairly comfortable July day. We’d had a mild summer up to that point and thank goodness, because I am not at all built for summer.

At 10:30am, the POD people made their delivery to my driveway. I was elated. That big white shiny box just waiting to be filled up with my stuff and my possibilities! My new beginning! I was about to be reinvented! Hoosier No More!! I was inches closer to fine! And, most importantly, the Universe was my friend again.

For two hours and twenty three minutes. (I looked at the clock, because I wanted to remember how long I had been one with Life.)

A little before 1pm, I heard the noise of an 18-wheeler, faint at first, but coming closer. The street is narrow with cars parked all along it, so if something like this was coming through, it was worth watching. I couldn’t see around the POD from my windows, so I was surprised to find out that it wasn’t an 18-wheeler at all once it passed my driveway.

It was the biggest U-Haul available to man. 

Then, it passed my house.

Then, it passed my devil neighbor’s driveway.

Then, it passed their house.

And, then.

It stopped.

Reverse lights.

Reverse beeps.

Damn thing backed right into devil neighbor’s yard and stopped at their devil front porch.

There I was in my tiny house with the POD to my right and devil neighbor’s engorged U-Haul to my left. I would live in a tunnel for the next few days while we both loaded our vessels. For a year, I had done everything I could to avoid looking at them or their vicinity, and now we had to lug our stuff simultaneously and side-by-side? (I had a fleeting thought that, with my luck, I would get stuck behind them on the same Denver-bound highway, but I reassured myself that Hoosier devils like these spend their lifetimes close to where they were spawned, and this devil family of five or seven (I was never quite sure) had been spawned in Broad Ripple, a little village just a couple of miles up the road.)

Believe me, I wanted to go, but we had a deal, the Universe and me. There had been long talks about signs. I needed them. I still do. I’ve always lived by signs. Was this a sign that maybe this philosophy wasn’t such a good idea? That nothing was a good idea? Was this a sign that It was going to start taking back signs? Was this a sign that the stars weren’t aligned quite as perfectly as I thought? I started the day excited and happy, and ended it in the fetal position on my unassembled bed, surrounded by the typical moving mayhem, listening to the rather loud gnawing in my stomach warning me that this was just the beginning (in so many ways).

It goes without saying that I carried on because wheels were already in motion. And also because wanting out something awful trumped any screaming intuition.

The dichotomy of this day foreshadowed many just like it that would come over the next year. I would soon feel the highs of a love like I have never known and the lows that make me question if any of it was real.

I am still learning to live with the chastising certainty that I will never have that answer. And I’m learning that where? Back in Indiana, of course. And already, although not nearly as desperately (yet), looking for signs about how to get the hell out.