One morning, as I had my first smoke and sipped my coffee as I slowly approached something more resembling waking consciousness, I found myself thinking of Penny, trying to feel her out emotionally, and she has been lingering in the lit portion of my mind ever since. This was at some point within the last two or three weeks, and it was not only her that drifted back into my mind but the dramatic change she came to make in her life. The wanderlust she grabbed by the reigns years ago when she packed all she cared to salvage into her car and drove off from Ohio to take her chances in New Orleans, Louisiana, where she made herself a home, went her own way, aglow with beauty, beaming in the pictures she occasionally posts on social media.
What may have triggered my reveries was a picture I recently saw of her outside some bar or coffee shop, sunglasses on, relaxing at a table on the sidewalk. She was just glowing through that picture; the photograph conveyed a sense of comfort, calm peace that seemed to ignite some sense of hope in me.
She has personality characteristics and life patterns that recur in many of the women I have found myself close to, if not physically and romantically or socially at least in terms of the attention and time I invest in thinking about them and their lives.
One of my ex-girlfriends, Kate, had packed up all her things and left her desert locale of California not knowing where she would end up, ultimately living for a time in Ohio, dating me for a short time and ultimately going back to Cali. Another ex, Anne, had done essentially the same thing when she moved from Ohio to many places while in the Army, eventually to Texas and back to Ohio again. Another ex and for much longer now a close friend, Claire, came to me from California but had spend her childhood — well, bouncing around everywhere. She continued to do the same shortly after I met her and until relatively recently has been dedicated to living a rather wanderlust-driven life in and outside of the Army despite her burning desire for (as she has always put it) roots.
I, on the other hand, have spent my present lifetime rather bound geographically-speaking, with all the places I have lived since my birth clustered rather close together within the single state of Ohio. I lived with my family in a suburban location for the first ten years of my life and spent the next eleven living with my family in an urban setting. Since 1999, I have lived in various places and moved a total of nine times by my count, none of which were farther than an hour-and-a-half drive from my parent’s home. In the last sixteen years, I have moved a total of nine times. I have lived alone twice, both in the same apartment complex, and the present moment is one of those times. (Its great, too. Never live with other people if you can help it.)
Recently a girl from work came over to my apartment, a girl that perhaps a part of me is interested in. she then informs me that she is soon to pack up all her things into her car and move to Arizona, where she has always wanted to live.
To me, this get up and go thing takes courage. I am envious.
I don’t know if I could ever leave Ohio, but the thought of finding a place where I could perhaps feel where I belong, much as Penny did — it’s inspiring.