It Calls To Me

(had to look that one up. couldn't remember if the Romans had a symbol for 20. they don't.)

Just because we were adding anger to the mix didn’t mean that I was all gung-ho about, well, anything.

What do you do?

I was homeless.

My parents had lost the house I grew up in (let’s save that traumatic tale for another day, shall we?) and, rather than try and find something they could afford in Fairfield County, had decided to just get the hell out of Dodge. Stepford. Whatever.

So they moved to a huge, dilapidated farm house in New Hampshire that had tons of space and lots of quirks and could have, someday, with a lot of work, been kind of amazing.

But as-is, it was not amazing. And it was in New Hampshire, a state I hardly knew at all. And I had already been living with Dave when they moved there. So while my mom selected one of the rooms to be “Kiki and David’s Room” when we’d visit, it had no special history or value or memories for me.

Meaning I did not have the safety of “my old room” to go to. In fact, aside from my cousins, my grandfather was the only relative I’d had who still lived in Connecticut. Samantha was living in New Hampshire. Healy was living in Massachusetts. My friends were spread out.

I sort of had no ties to...anywhere.

Me. Completely without anchor. I’d grown up so close to my family, so close to Fairfield County, so resigned to always having roots there, that to suddenly not was just another piece of this puzzle that was impossible to believe was my life.

* * * * * *

What were my options?

I could stay in Connecticut. Yes, that would be the safest thing, because it was the only thing I knew. But really? Being single in Stepford? Wasn’t now my chance to get out, when I had no reason to stay?

It was. Of course it was.

Should I move to New Hampshire?

Oh my God, I don’t know how to do this.

I could have just up and moved to my parents’ house in New Hampshire and saved money and figured out what I was going to do while tending to my mom. Yes, that would be the nicest, most reasonable thing. But I felt like it would have killed me. NH was the opposite of my big-city dreams. The opposite of being free from all the domesticity that seemed to make me most unhappy.

If I moved to New Hampshire, I would be there waiting for her to die.

No, that is too sad. That is too morbid. That is not living. I cannot do that.

I did not do that.

I hope she forgave me.

I needed to go. I needed to just go. Somewhere far away where I could start my life again, where I could not feel constrained by history or expectations or anything. I had been yearning for a city...

Manhattan was too big and scary to start with.

Atlanta? Too...south.

Minneapolis? Chicago? I didn't want to be land-locked, and the thought of the cold winters...I had had enough of cold winters for the time being, thank you.

Seattle seemed too dark and rainy, too, and I thought LA always sounded so crazy.

Whereas San Francisco had always sounded so perfect.

Yeah, San Francisco. I knew it.

And literally just like that – without research, without having visited, without anything but the hope I’d been harboring for too long, for inexplicable reasons except some (could it be?) calling – I knew: if I could keep my job and move to San Francisco, I would.

I asked my bosses and they said yes.

And that was that.

* * * * * *

Telling people I was moving 3,000 miles away was hard.

At first I’m sure no one actually believed me. (This was maybe not the first time I’d decided I was going to move somewhere crazy where I then, um, didn’t.) But I knew it, felt it, that San Francisco held my future.

Part of the story is that the only person I knew out there was my cousin, Nate. He was living in Palo Alto (I had no idea what this meant, proximity-wise), and had been encouraging me and Dave to move to the Bay Area for years.

Nate had also been such a source of support (if, you know, in a tough love kind of way) throughout the whole mess. He’d been one of the guests over the Holidays From Hell and knew the Dave backstory and I was so excited to finally be able to tell him I was moving out there and moving on.

I remember calling and leaving a message on his answering machine that said, “Hey, I have big news. Call me back.” And he did call me back and I missed his call, but his message said, “Hey, I have news, too.”

Because of course I was calling to tell him I was finally moving to SF and he was calling to tell me he was finally moving back east.

I could not catch a break. Why is this NEVER like the Goddamned movies?

I think my sisters were stunned and sad and didn’t know what to do or say. They were not discouraging, though. They understood I had to do something. They would never have told me no.

My dad understood, too. He wanted me to come live with him and understood why I wouldn’t – or couldn’t.

I think in my family, when something makes us heartsick, we just don't talk about it. Because we don't need to. We all just know.

* * * * * *

I had to tell my mom.

My mom had been so ill that I hadn’t been able to tell her about David yet, let alone my new plan to move far away.

My husband left me, my husband, the man who had been my mate for almost six years left me, and my mom had been too sick to be told. Life was becoming almost permanently surreal.

I decided that breaking the news to my mom warranted a whole trip to New Hampshire in and of itself.

For that visit, she was at home, not at the hospital.
[“At home” would mean being in her own bed with a bevy of medical devices around her and the at-home nurses helping my dad care for her. She never left the bed except to go to the hospital.]
She was more coherent than she’d been in a long time. She needed less morphine as her stomach wound (around the tube) was healing. She wasn't totally herself, but some of her spark was there.

Anyway, I don’t know how I said it exactly, but I told her as much as I could.

When I told her about David, she didn’t say much. I know she was hurt. I know she was angry. But mostly, I knew she understood. She basically said, “Eh, it was just a starter marriage.”

Starter marriage. Ha!

My mother -- always aware of more than you'd expect, and damn if she wasn't funny as hell.

But then I told her about San Francisco.

And you know, she did not say no or don’t or why or please stay. She probably wanted to. She must have wanted to.

She just said, “I’ll miss you.”


  1. Kristy, you are making me tear up at the comic-shop job- how will I ever keep my < irony >indie comic-girl street cred< / irony > if I weep at the computer?

    Would it be too weird to say that I am proud of your mom for her reactions to the David news and the move news, and of you for being able to make such a dramatic move without the wibbling and weebling that so many of us engage in?

    I hope not, because I am.

    Thank you for sharing all this

  2. I feel like throwing up at the "I'll miss you" line. Like I've been kicked in the gut veryvery hard by my own mother. You are so good.

    The heartbreak! The sobbing! The STORY.

  3. Oh my. I was good and holding my own, and so, so impressed that you were able to tell your mother and to move, at such a hard time...and then came the "I'll miss you." I feel like it kicked me in the gut. And comes the crying.

    I know it's been said, but this of the best I've read ever. Brilliantly done, k.

  4. I have never cried because of a blog. Until now.

  5. Never seen such a heart felt blog entry. Now I must cry.(just remember I'm not gay)

  6. Yeah, the anger does help.

    My wife and I split just about two years ago. I told her I was going, and she said, no, I will. I said why? Moving's hard. She said you'll stick me with the big rent and the dogs.

    I love the dogs. She did stick me with the big rent.

    I just wanted out. She beat me to the filing punch. Said she hadn't heard from me in three months, so it was over. She was unmoved when I pointed out phones work two ways.

    I became the wall. It was out of self-preservation.

  7. Well, I put that in the wrong place. Sorry.

    I'll miss you. Yeah, that kills.

    But she sounds funny. Starter marriage was the perfect thing to say.

  8. *sigh*
    You have told this all so beautifully. Every part of this story.
    Thank you so much for telling it and allowing us to be a part of your family, if only through our computers.

  9. I used to lurk your blog a long long time ago. Then somehow I stopped reading blogs all together. Tonight, at work alone waiting for people to call me and complain about their vacations, I started reading the story of your divorce. This entry is where I've started crying hysterically.

    I hope no one calls....


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