Thursday, November 1, 2012

As if there's anything I can say about my trip to Utah that will make sense. Or that will erase this weight that's been pressing on my chest since I drove 500 hundred miles to escape that place back in May. A weight that finally knocked my ass to the ground when I landed in the Salt Lake City airport last Thursday afternoon.

It is autumn. The streets are so wide. There is a calm, a calm I hated, a calm that haunted me until I left it behind. A calm I now crave from the center of this giant metropolis on the edge of the west.

I had coffee. Lots of coffee. Because I had coffee dates. With, like, everyone. And when I say I had coffee, I mean I had chai, because I hate coffee unless it's from a tiny little hole in the wall in Buenos Aires, and yes that does make me an asshole. I had coffee at The Rose. I had coffee at Park City Roasting. I had coffee at Cucina. I had coffee at Nobrow. I had coffee at Salt Lake Roasting Company, the first coffee shop in SLC I ever visited. A refuge from the extended stay hotel at the airport I was residing in my first two weeks in Utah. 

And during my coffees, I talked to M and to H and to D and to L and to J and to J's mother, and I remembered. And I remembered that I forgot. And I talked to T over homemade quiche over bourbon out on the rooftop outside her apartment window. I told her that I had told H that day, every day I spent here was a struggle just to function, just to find an ounce of happiness. And she quoted my own life philosophy back at me. Nothing worth having comes easy. 

Because what I learned in Utah, I learned by leaving it. That it is worth having. That it is the most important thing I ever did in my life, living there, standing out on my balcony overlooking the Wasatch mountain range, the tiny, poor excuse for a downtown. That it is not just a stop on my road, but that it is my road. And if I never live there again, it will break my heart. And if I never live there again, it will always be, no matter what, a component of the stuff that runs through my veins. 

Drove up to Park City in a car with Indiana plates listening to a mix of Denver music I made for the owner of that car to have coffee with my therapist. My therapist who is actually just my friend now. Not "just," like our relationship is less than, but "just" like I just don't have to pay her anymore. I don't know what it says about her or me that we established this connection that transcends accepted boundaries, but I tend to come into conflict with boundaries like that a lot, and I tend to break them into pieces so small that they become invisible. It snowed in Park City. The drive was incredible. A drive I've only made three times. Once with R my first weekend in Utah. A day trip that resulted in my not returning until time number two, the last weekend I lived in Utah. That second trip I had to make with my therapist. The third being this most recent trip. Oh and there is a fourth, not to Park City, but through Park City to Colorado that day R and I secretly drove across western I-80 in a U-Haul to our hometown. 

Other things I did last weekend when I was in my salty, lakey home: Scary Dog reading at the Art Barn, J's birthday party celebration outside with sparklers then inside at the roller rink/arcade, Poets for Obama reading, brunch with A & D, dinner with other A, bar night at The Republican where J made me apple cider like he does every winter, bar night at the Green Pig where there's no longer a hookah girl, leaving L and me disappointed, wiffle ball in Liberty Park on the most beautiful fall day I could ever ask for. 

And, most important in my attempt to reconcile or contend or succumb, I drove around. I drove through downtown and past all the places I used to go. I drove past the various condos and duplexes and lofts my family and I were going to buy for me as a real estate investment back when I thought I would be staying in Salt Lake for another four years. All those places that are my other life that I chose not to live. Except that I am living it. Just not in reality. Do you know what I mean?

I went back to my apartment. I didn't go inside, but I wandered around the building. I still feel really fucked up about my life in that place. It physically hurts to think both about my life there and about my having left. And visiting my old complex hurt a lot. But I'm glad I did it. I don't know why I can't be like normal people and comprehend things like moving in a normal way. I don't know why it always has to be such a tumultuous inner turmoil kind of mind fuck for me. But I suppose that's part of what makes me a good artist. That inability to just accept what most people call "reality." Because it's not real anyway, so I think sometimes my pain is actually me just trying to reconcile the way I see things with what is deemed "normal." Like, it's normal for people to live in an apartment and move away. But that's not normal to me. Even though I've done it multiple times, I can't comprehend having lived somewhere, and then that place still existing even though I don't live there. I guess it's really solipsistic, but I don't care. It's the multiple lives thing I don't get. I don't feel time chronologically. I don't see myself as having had a life in CO, then a life in UT, then a life in CA. I see myself as always having all those lives simultaneously. In so many ways, I'm still living out the life I have[had] in Utah, and I probably will be for as long as I live, even if I never go back.

In memory of a person I never knew, who haunted my last few months in this place.

I'd like to think that this tree grew out of the place where my neighbor's body hit the ground even though I know this tree was here before he no longer was.

H said, I had no idea being here was so hard for you. He said, I'm so sorry. I said, I'm not.

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