Today, a friend who I thought was lost forever called me. I had pushed him away for many reasons. When I knew him he was in a horrible depression. We served in AmeriCorps together for a few months last winter before he quit and moved to California. Before he’d left he’d written my best friend (another AmeriCorps) at the time a tortured Facebook message confessing his love for her. She reported as sexual harassment. She’s a rape survivor, and I spent hours with her hashing out how threatened his message made her feel. I felt more loyal to my friend than to him, and so I didn’t even say goodbye to him before he left. He called and texted me many times that March trying to meet up one last time. I deleted his number from my phone.
I was so lucky he left me a message last night. When I heard his voice, I didn’t question whether or not I should return his call. Despite my neglect of our friendship and some hatred I once felt toward him for hurting my friend, tonight I spoke with him as I walked my dog in the woods behind my parent’s house. Caleb said he doesn’t feel completely normal, but he feels better. He’s a teacher now in Denver.
Something he said made me realize an urgency in me to leave New England again. Or maybe it wasn’t anything he said, but what he’d done. Small revolution. He’d left home (Minneapolis) with a fresh curiosity, and just as much uncertainty as ever before. leaving hadn’t made everything better but it again allowed room to be another version of himself, possibly a better one.
I looked at turkey tracks on the path and remembered that I love my family but with them I often feel trapped and comforted by masks I can wear with them. I am sister, daughter, the quiet one, the smart one, the one who is soft. But moving around, or being separate, alone, and sometimes lonely helps me to take these masks off.
My immediate response to this realization is to plan…..where to go? when? What to do? who to go with? I am excited and impulsive, a bit afraid. I am working on being okay with not knowing answers, praying that more messages will come. I know that change happens surprisingly quickly when I am ready.