Everything in Transition
I got my septum pierced and lost my job in October. Suddenly I was clutching empty pockets and pondering whether or not I should spend $5 on an iced latte with soy milk or save it to buy Christmas gifts for the family members leaving me angry voicemails about piercings and tattoos and religion.
In the same month one of my closest friends moved away. I met Lennox in the summertime. First on the Internet, then at a zine fair, introduced by unexpected mutual friends. We became friends quickly, effortlessly. We ate Thai food often, laid in the grass at The Getty, bought Solange tickets last minute. I was utterly amazed at how the cozy bed of this once-stranger could come to feel like home in such a short span of time. But high rent and a beloved sister in Portland beckoned her to leave LA. On her last day in the city we sat on her front steps drinking vegan smoothies. Not really saying much. Because what can you say when a piece of your heart is literally being taken from you?
It wasn’t the first time I’d experienced this kind of heartbreak. Only months earlier had my dear friend, Shelby, left me to study abroad in Washington D.C. Over the summer we texted, called, sent letters—cheapened versions of the kind of connection we truly desired. Early in October, our paths crossed again in New York City—a place we’d always dreamed of moving to together. We arrived in the city separately, and met up in a crowded Starbucks near Time Square. When I spotted her sitting alone reading Hillary Clinton’s biography I felt the strongest sense of home, even amongst the clamor of the obnoxious establishment. For two short days we stayed in our friend Leah's apartment in Manhattan. We ate good food and filled our disposables to the brim in the park. We kept saying, “We’ll be back. We’re coming back.” A promise neither of us were sure we could keep, but somehow saying it out loud made it feel more possible.
I started dating a boy in October. He carried a camera with him at all times and drank lots of black iced coffee. I’d never held anyone’s hand before, and I remember covering my eyes, scared to death, as he reached out to grab mine for the first time. He made me nervous but somehow comfortable. He reminded me of the friends I missed so dearly. Somehow his old Buick with floors littered with film canisters and developing envelopes felt like home to me too.
In December, my friends shuffled back into my life one-by-one—back for graduation, or to visit family, or to back from study abroad programs. I took immense pleasure in looking at the Find My Friends app on my phone and seeing all of our little dots in the same vicinity. After months of having so many people I loved scattered across the country, they were all finally in the same place. Drinking cheap wine with me in my home, buying overpriced lattes with me in the city. Everyone seemed to be in a state of transition—jobless, loveless, friendless, directionless. The moments we shared together were sacred. I fumbled with my new film camera, feeling slightly like an imposter, directing my friends in front of the lens. But the photos that emerged were a tangible representation of the inexplicable feeling welling within me:
Everything is changing, moving, shifting. The reality of that is terrifying. Perhaps the only thing that is for certain is the fact that whether my loved ones are near or far, they will remain my loved ones. Even as everything is in transition.