Leaving a place is never easy.
Even if you’re completely disgusted with the political climate. Or the actual climate morphs you into a disgusting sinus-y blob with legs.
Because the reason you moved to Point A was, at one time, just as important as why you’re deciding to leave for Point B.
And every little thing you’ve learned, and every single person whom you’ve befriended along the way has become a thread in the fabric of your life.
(Cue disturbing “Fruit of the Loom” jingle.)
Speaking of those threads, over the next week we’re going to try and sew as many of them together as possible. Into a warm, fluffy sweater.
(Cue Weezer’s “Undone.” No?)
Alright. Enough with the textile analogies.
Even though we’re both so ridiculously excited, we also realize we’ll have to say goodbye. Goodbyes are never fun. Because I’m terribly awkward, and probably say things out of nervousness that, in turn, make people want to forget me.
Plus, I’m an emotional Italian. (I can say that!)
I thought we’d have more time to see everyone, make the rounds. Have a drink here, a brunch there, and we’d be able to leave everyone who’s become so important to us with one last memory and a smile.
But then I look from the calendar to partially packed boxes to all of our furniture to that Post It reminding me to reserve a goddamn Penske, and acknowledge that I’m a gross, sinus-y blob with legs.
And that’s when it hits me: we won’t be able to do everything one last time, nor see everyone for dinner.
But, we’re going to try.
But in case we can’t make it to each and every one of the haunts we’ve so cherished, here’s a non-exhaustive list of everything I will miss about North Carolina. (The everyone’s are, thankfully, too plentiful to distill down to a list. Y’all know who you are, and know that y’all are awesome.)
In no particular order, I give you the things that have made North Carolina home over the past seven years:
The LGBT Center of Raleigh: No words could describe how much we owe the Center, and the amazing friends and chosen family we’ve made there. After all, without the Center, I wouldn’t have met this guy:
Sanford Antique Mall: Jenks and John, Julie, and all of the great antiquey characters that make it awesome (including the Sanford dahlings).
Porch-hopping with the Sanford dahlings. So much wine. So much debauchery. So much fun.
The Borough: Liz and the amazing Borough crew make enjoying Boys Clubs and Uberwisconsins and Boys Clubs that much more fulfilling.
Benelux Cafe: Steven and his wonderful crew, and their large soy mocha + banana-chocolate chip muffin = Saturday morning bliss.
Making a home with Andy, and then having it featured on Apartment Therapy.
Oakwood Historic District: A maze of amazingly beautiful houses, each of which makes us want an historic home that much more.
Father & Son Antiques: The crew is always great, and there’re plenty of MCM gems just waiting to eat away at our wallets.
Irregardless Cafe: Three words: Challah. French. Toast. That is all.
North American Video: As the only independently-owned movie store left in Raleigh, it gets major props, especially since our DVD collection has blown up thanks to their amazing sales.
Early-morning faux zombie attacks. I’m now fully prepared to respond. *Grabs nearby blunt object*
Sugarland: So many cupcakes, so little time.
Moonlight Pizza Company: Best. Pizza. Evahhh. The End.
Foster’s Market: Baked. Goods.
Quail Ridge Books & Music: One of the only independently-owned bookstores in the Triangle, where I got to meet a few of my favorite authors. Like, Sarah Vowell, Celia Rivenbark, and Amy Sedaris.
Weaver Street Market. Hippie paradise? Yes. But I can overlook that. Especially when there’s olive bread and wine handy.
David’s Dumpling and Noodle Bar: Do yourself a favor and order the Singapore Rice Stick Noodles with Tofu. You’ll be glad you did.
The Cheshire Cat: Our Fiestaware collection has grown from the goodies stocked here.
The Remedy Diner: Best Bloody Mary in Raleigh. And the Flame Job isn’t bad, either. (No, it’s not something dirty.)
Now, there’re also things that I won’t miss–aside from the cray-cray state government. Thankfully, the cons are much fewer than the pros.
Again, in no particular order, I give you a few of the maddening moments/things over the past seven years.
The terrifying moment when I realize I’m doing laundry at a laundromat that shares a parking lot with a K&W Cafeteria. At noon. There is no escaping the Le Sabre-Buick- Cadillac pile-up.
That stoplight at Woodland and Hillsborough. Please take longer. After all, I still need to catch up on a week’s worth of news, and listen to a podcast before you turn green. (Actually, most of Raleigh’s stoplights: GET. SENSORS. INSTALLED.)
The Cameron Village Harris Teeter parking lot. Quite possibly one of the worst-designed parking lots I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing on a routine basis. Too many dings in my doors to count.
The way I-40 drivers will careen off the road at the first sign of rain, or put on their hazards and drive three miles per hour.
The black mold growing in my basement apartment in Chapel Hill.
The painted-over black mold growing in my Sanford house.
Bubba trucks. Sure, they’re everywhere. But at least it’ll be less likely that I’ll have to deal with sitting beside a jacked-up 70’s Chevy pickup with car-sized tires in CA. (I’m sure your penises are sad.)
Farmhouse Fraternity. (See “Bubba trucks” above.)
Capital Boulevard. *Shudders*
As with everything, I’ve tempered the good with the bad and have managed to stay fairly stable. Life is always a balancing act, and each of us always has to make sure to keep the two sides in check.
To enjoy the little things that much more.
To revel in the tiny victories, glittery or not.
To laugh at the absurdity.
And revel in the ambiguity.
Because each of us has to leave at some point.
And choose which memories come along for the ride.