There are two very distinct times in my recent past that I recall being truly happen, one in December 2002 and the other in the latter months of 2005.
The exact date escapes me, but that day in 2002 has stuck with me in great detail. I was 21 then, living with my parents, and three years in to my college career. It was snowing, and I had an Elton John cd playing. I remember looking out of the window in the back of my room, watching the snow fall, and feeling truly happy. It was one of those extremely rare times when my parents were getting along well with each other *and* with me. That in itself is enough to make the day stand out. I remember that we were all about to go out for pizza, and my mother was laughing. More than anything, I remember feeling peaceful that day.
I finished my University studies a year from then and took a staff position with the office where I’d worked as a student. 2004 brought the deaths of my parents, a failed attempt at moving a distance away, and the start of my bouncing about from house to house for a bit as I adjusted to the major changes. Writing all of this out, I can easily see why I look back at the end of ’02 with fondness. It was the last time things were simple. My life in America was solidifying, and although it was far from what I’d thought it would be, my life was headed toward a more definite path. After 2002, everything got complicated. Because of my SRA background, I’d never had a great deal of certainty or stability in my life, but I was starting to feel a bit more settled. Things do change so quickly.
2005 was *not* a good year for finding room-mates. I’ll skip over that search and go straight to the end of the year, when things went right in the best possible of ways. Not quite knowing where to go to get away from the crummy living environment I’d stuck myself in, I phoned my best friend and asked his mum if I could stay the week with them. I left three months later. Long week. 🙂
Anyway, living with my best friend and his family was *amazing.* We fell in to a comfortable routine, the three of us, and soon enough it felt like I’d always lived there. I’ve tried many times, but I can never find words to express what living there was like. It was safe and felt like family. I guess that’s the best I can do with describing it. I slept on the sofa and used three of the drawers built in the wall to hold my stuff. We made that room into a room for me that transitioned perfectly back to a lounge during the day. The logistics are mind boggling, but we made it work. 🙂 Lily, who we didn’t know at the time, loved being there. She told my best friend and I that she remembered things from then and giggled loudly when pointing out that she knew us but we didn’t know her. She’s very shy, our Lily. Not the least bit outspoken.
I remember those times, especially living with my best friend, and take those feelings of comfort along with me. My past may be dark and my present uncertain, but I have many times with my FOC here and afar that serve as guides for what life should be like. I’ll know when I feel as I did then that I’ve found my place in the world.