“Escape for your life!
Do not look behind you,
and do not stay anywhere in the valley;
escape to the mountains,
or you will be swept away”
- Genesis 19:17
I hardly thought I would be here. I hardly know if I will be there. I’ve felt more alone than I have in a while. I read often, jump into worlds and follow characters who go through more hardships than simply feeling alone. Books haven’t been enough though. I’ve chatted with strangers for a while now…And I mean in random places that I wander off to and on the internet.
I took my backpack into Starbucks, a place I don’t like to venture into. But a writer’s gotta find a coffee shop to write in, and right now, Starbucks is as good as it gets here in Southern Utah.
I think back to the time you bought me a hazelnut coffee and a strawberry rhubarb tart. That memory makes me smile. I asked you to give me ten seconds, ten seconds where anything goes: Anything can be said. No judgement. Anything can be done. No fear. Just us. Just feelings. (What you didn't know was that every second I had spent with you was just that. I only pretended there was a 10 second window.) You gave me those ten seconds, and I said I love you. I’ll never regret it.
I wished I had been more selfish then. I just didn’t know what you were willing to give me at the time. You gave me ten seconds when I asked for it. I’m sorry I couldn’t give you eternity when you asked for it.
But I did my best.
And we had a beautiful day. And can we really ask for more? A kiss is not a contract after all...
Want to know a secret? I have these envelopes. After I couldn’t be with you, after I decided to not be with you, after I told you it couldn’t work… I wrote about “you” very little. I wrote about how I felt about “after you” a lot. And here’s the secret, I wrote to you even more. Every day. I wrote with a pen and paper. I folded the paper and stuck them in envelopes that I licked closed. I was even stupid enough to put the stamps on. I wrote my return address on the corner of the envelope, just in case you wanted to write back…
But I never addressed them to you. I never sent them.
So here they are with me. And I don’t know what to do with them really. I opened one. It was from the beginning of March. I was scared about my situation. I was scared about the place I was staying at. I was scared about New York. But I told you everything was fine, because I knew you would say you’d pray for me, and I didn’t want you to.
I saw the man who wrote me my first ever love letter two days ago. We were in kindergarten then. He had grown up nice and handsome. He’s married now. Has been for a year. I saw the man I kissed first. He is expecting his third child and is happily married.
Tomorrow my mother is having lunch with her friends. She invited me to join, but I don’t want to eat potato salad with people who have grandchildren. So I said no thanks. And that's strange, because I really like eating potato salad with people who have grandchildren.
I have a new phone, but I don’t save numbers. No one seems worth reaching, and no one seems to want to reach me either. The next person I see more than twice in a week will have to bump into me with their entire body, a jolt! And they will have to insist that there is something to be had between us whether that be a conversation, a fight, a laugh, a lesson, or a romance.
I’ve been reading about Colorado, Northern Utah, Boise, Oregon. I want to run away one more time once I come back from Costa rica. And I want to be running to a place to call home. I’ve never had one. When strangers ask me where I’m from, it’s almost as if they’ve asked me for an answer to a word problem in math.
Of course my answer is the following: Purple, because aliens don’t wear hats. (If you got that joke, then I like you a lot.)
Instead of reading about neighborhoods in Boise, the economy in Denver, or the liberal views of SLC Proper, I got lost down a rabbit hole that probably doesn’t matter. But it fascinated me.
I read about 1978. I read about African Americans and the priesthood. I also read bout Jimmy Carter and the IRS threatening various religious institutions using their tax wielding ways. I read about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I read about the CES Letters. I read about a glass and a hat and no translation. I read about Brigham Young and his 55 spouses and the married spouses, and the virgin spouses, and the young spouses, the 14 year-old-spouses, the spouses that would be younger than my youngest sister. I read about the woman that turned to salt because she looked back over her shoulder. I read about hot drinks and caffeine. I read about coffee, tea, diet coke, red bull, and hot chocolate. I read about homosexual teenagers being thrown out of their homes. I read about Prop 8 (again). And then I read about how the church is true because, well, it’s true. And then I read about how the church is not true because, well… it’s not.
And then I remembered I’m supposed to be reading about places and where I’m going to live. What was I actually reading and why in the world was I reading all of this?...Fascinating.
I'm so close. Maybe even just one more real sprint away from finding a place to call home.
And whatever I do.
Whatever. I. Do.
I just can't look back.