Union Station; Washington, DC
Two years ago last Friday, a taxi picked Jon and me up from the flat in Finchley. I spent most of the ride to the airport on the phone with 02, arguing about the cancellation of my phone plan; while it was a frustrating way to spend an hour, I was secretly glad to have the distraction. Jon and I already had enough sad and silent journeys under our belts, holding hands and trying to think of new ways to say goodbye, and I wanted to stave that off for as long as possible.
Two years ago last Friday, I dried my tears and blew my nose and calmed my hiccoughs as I walked through security at Heathrow, away from my fiancé and towards the home I'd left behind years earlier.
Two years ago last Friday, a dour American immigration official at Dulles took my passport and, when I answered his questions, broke into a beaming smile and cried, "Welcome back!" In response, I sobbed.
I've cried too many times to can count since then. It's occasionally felt like I'm being tested as I make a new life here in DC without Jon; as I've said before, sometimes this chapter feels like limbo. But, more often than not, I do fit here, in this life and in this city and in this chapter. It's been an adventure to rediscover my hometown - anyone who has been in Washington for more than a decade will tell you that it's practically unrecognizable from when I was in high school, though the bones are the same. It's been a pleasure to get to know my parents essentially as peers, as wonderfully generous and beautifully flawed people who, I'm proud to say, I'm much more like than I would have wanted to admit when I last lived here. It's been satisfying to have found and furnished an apartment and made it a home for the three of us to live in for (possibly) the next few years, though it's just Charlie and me right now. It's been self-affirming to survive the wrong job, the right job that then ceased to exist, and unemployment, all of which led me finally to the place my career (and, I say without hyperbole, my heart) wants me to be. And it's been comforting to not only have engaged with dear old friends while maintaining friendships from London but also to have made fantastic new friends, women who are as kind and funny and irreverent as any I might ever hope to know.
(It's also been character-strengthening to take on Homeland Security and the State Department and to stand strong against delays and misunderstandings and complications. For those of you who are interested, I've put in a calendar of our visa progress on the right sidebar of this blog and will update it as things progress.)
Two years ago last Friday, I started a new chapter. It's important for me to remember that this isn't a time of purgatory but rather of pilgrimage. Soon Jon will be here and we'll start yet another, but, tears aside, I'm not passively waiting for him to arrive. All of these little moments of belonging, even without Jon, make up quite an active life. It's a challenging life, a full life, and a beautiful one. I'm moving forward, as are we all, in a succession of little moments, and life is good.
Happy June, dear readers.