July, 2001 (28 years old)
After I said goodbye to my friends and family and packed my remaining belongings into two suitcases, I decided to spend my final evening in Michigan in the best place I could think of: on the shore of Lake Michigan at my friends’ cottage.
Brendan and I were so close that we could finish each other’s sentences. Sometimes we’d have entire conversations just looking at each other. But it wasn’t the healthiest of relationships for us since he was George’s partner and they really should’ve been sharing that kind of telepathy; and I was a single girl looking for love. Brendan and I filled a gap for each other that should have been filled by a love partner. Do you know what I mean? It would take time and distance before either of us would be able to let go.
You see, as much as I loved Brendan and George, there were certain things they couldn’t do for me. Not even if they were really, really drunk.
So I spent the last night at their cottage. It was a beautiful day. There was a family renting the cottage next door and I noticed a very attractive guy about the same age as me. And he was French. Since it was my last night in Michigan, I decided to flirt. I was a terrible flirt, but somehow we ended up taking a stroll down to the water around two in the morning and kissing in the sand. It sounds romantic, but it really wasn’t. It was another one of those moments that on the surface seems beautiful and sexy and emotional, when really it was just cold, sandy and with a lot of pointless lip wagging.
I woke up in the morning in my own bed (alone of course) and then Brendan and I drove my car to the airport.
I was driving and I was nervous. Brendan was going to let me keep my car at their place for a while until I could figure out how to turn it in. (It was leased.) About thirty minutes from the airport, a woman pulled out in front of me and we collided in a crash of screeching metal. Brendan was tossed forward. I think I was too but I was too stunned to do anything. The car was totaled, and my flight was leaving in an hour and a half.
I didn’t know what to do. Was it a sign? Was the universe saying I should stay home and that only way it could get me to listen was to put me in a car accident?
Then I told myself that was ridiculous. Of course it was just an accident, and the cop told us it was the other driver’s fault entirely. She was seventeen and scared bloodless.
I don’t know how I got to the airport after the tow truck came. I think Brendan drove me. His back was messed up and I ached all over, but I was getting on that plane. I had a destiny to meet and it wouldn’t wait any longer.
I got on the plane. I said goodbye to Grand Rapids.
Later, I would write a story about my last night in Grand Rapids. I changed the details, added some salacious bits, but at the heart of it the feelings were real. I’ll post it in a separate post. It’s interesting to me because I wrote it just two months before the Towers were hit, and it seems to be a story that is relentlessly hopeful, even though it’s weighted with sadness.
I find that very curious.