Monday, December 30, 2013

Nothing about home is not complicated. Nothing is not dripping with that kind of sticky nostalgia that accompanies returning to the place that raised me. Colorado winter is hard. Now that I've given up winter for warmer, south-er places, winter is something distinguishable from the rest of my life. It used to look a certain way, always, my coming home for the winter. It won't ever look that way again. It probably won't ever look just one way again. It will look all ways, always.

All my high school friends are from Colorado. And almost all of them came home in December. My best friend and I had Noonles Christmas wherein we ate sushi that took forever to arrive, then wandered around the Chatfield Arboretum in the freezing cold looking at the lights we've seen at a distance from the highway for years.

My lovely A returned from Malaysia and we returned to the center of the town for which our high school is named. 

Every year, my high school theater friends and I celebrate EveEve. Sometimes I'm home. Sometimes I'm not. Another thing that will probably always look different, but also something that will continue to bring me as close to my high school self as possible and in the best way. My boys...

My other best friend is leaving for the Peace Corps in March. She's learning songs on the ukulele. She serenaded me.

I got to spend a night with R, her family, and her children, who are my tiny bears, who head butt me and let me read them stories. 

My college friends also returned home. Most of them. M and I had coffee in an old elementary school in the Springs where I got to see her six month old for the first time since she was one month old. Later, M&R had a cookie exchange where I scored a entire plate of joy.

N and I returned to Denver to celebrate city life.

J and I drove to Boulder for a night of puppet making at madelife, which is where I got the following photos of us.

My CN girls, N& J, and I got a hotel room downtown for the night. We were carted around by Thom, the best rickshaw driver. We shared the most delicious dinner at Osteria Marco. We drank hot chocolate with Baileys from the Peak's Lounge in the Hyatt overlooking the entire city as it began to snow. J gave us lovely bracelets. So much jewelry connects the four of us. The most important things I wear.

Christmas was a thing. I got to spend it with my family for the first time in two years. Even Tiny Brother came home. And my cousin clown shoes. Mom and I decorated a tree. She helped me make cookies. We wrapped presents.
A Christmas present from TB.

I got to have suburban drinks at a suburban bar in yoga clothes with S. 

I got to have appetizers and whiskey and conversation but not dessert with different S, where we had space and time to remember and plan continual remembrance. 

I got to see Snake Rattle Rattle Snake and The Centennial at the Hi Dive on the solstice. 

I got to see my SLCC Community Writing Center mentee and catch up on her college adventures in Colorado Springs at a restaurant with fish on the wall and too much dressing on the salad. 

I got to meet my best friend's mom for 8:30am weekend coffee at our local Starbucks to say hello and goodbye all at once. 

And I got to belong to this landscape again, which finally granted my wish for snow the night before I left the country.
The street that grew me up.

An arrival, mid-December, a year after I sobbed at this same gate, in shock, before I knew that nothing would ever be the same again.

A departure, late December, at the end of what has been the worst year of my life, off to the airport, off to Europe [don't call it Europe] to use up my ticket credit, the ticket that is the only thing still tying me to a past I'm learning to leave behind.

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