On the day that I left Richmond for good to head to San Francisco, I was exhausted.
The previous two weeks had been a non-stop series of good-bye parties and activities with friends and co-workers. There was a lot of, "Let's do this one more time..." I was still teaching a class up until a couple days before I left. I knew that I was severely neglecting my packing, but spending time with those that I was leaving behind was more important to me. It meant that I pretty much packed up, donated, and/or threw away everything in my entire apartment in three days, but it was worth it.
After slamming the door of the moving truck for the last time, I climbed in the driver's seat of the car, resigned to begin what would be a multi-day journey. Chris was feeling emotional, and he looked at me incredulously and said, "I can't believe you're not more upset about this." (Usually I had enough emotion for several people bubbling out of me constantly.)
He was wrong, though. On that late afternoon in the summertime in front of 3333 W. Grace Street, the emotions were so intense they were about to boil over. My grief at leaving the best friends I had known to that point, the city that had come to be my home, and the place I came into myself; my intense fear of what was to come and whether I'd make it; my desire to go, move, and change--the only way I could keep my shit together to be able to drive down the street was to put a heavy lid on it for the time being.
I told him, "Please. I can't. I just can't or I'll never be able to leave."
Then I turned the car on, checked on the birds one last time before starting out, clicked the cd player on, and drove down the street and out of town. I didn't look back once. I couldn't, or I would never have gotten anywhere.