Something peculiar happened to us a few nights ago, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
Kyle and I were out on a little after-dinner walk to our favorite downtown coffee shop. We go on these walks about twice a week or so, and we enjoy spending the private time together, uninterrupted by distraction. (And the yummy raspberry Italian Sodas at the end don’t hurt either!)
But the other night was a little different. Usually, we stroll through downtown, talking about our day, our past, our future, and speaking to no one but each other. But as we passed by a local bar on the way home, we spotted a few friends from Kyle’s theatre sitting out on the patio. A call of hello was all it took to get us to stop and chat; the knowledge that they were drinking $2.50 draft micro brews was all it took to get us to pull up chairs of our own. What started out as a little evening jaunt turned into a four-beer night at the bar with friends. It was a lovely evening, with laughter and compelling conversation, and a wonderful surprise.
What surprised me wasn’t just the very act of seeing someone we knew. After all, the bar they were at is one frequented by many of the theatre people in town, (ourselves included,). Even so, in the last four cities we’ve lived in, I’ve never once seen someone I knew that I wasn’t planning to meet. We’ve always been able to move throughout the city silently, without worrying about what anyone around us though, because we knew that we didn’t know anyone. So we talked too loud at the bar, we ate too much at the diner, and I went to the grocery store for late-night ice cream runs without a bra more than once. Because who cares? I don’t know any of these people!
But after nine months here in Saratoga Springs, things are different. For the first time since we’ve left college, we actually have a presence in this town. In the last four cities we’ve lived in, we’ve always been able to slip in, live our lives without denting the surface, and quietly slip out without any attachments. To the cities we lived in, we were barely a whisper. But now, it appears that we’ve actually begun to break the surface. People are beginning to know who we are, we’re beginning to have reputations, and we’re beginning to enter circles.
And that thought, is a little frightening. Because when we do decide to leave Saratoga Springs, be it in two years, five years, or ten years, it won’t be as easy as it was before. It will mean leaving friends. It will mean leaving good jobs. And it will mean leaving a community that we have actually sunk some roots into, no matter how tiny and fragile they may be. For once, we actually have something to loose.
And yet, it’s also a glorious feeling. For the first time since college, there are people here that care whether I’m alive or dead. We’re no longer just nameless faces; we’re people. And not just people in the city; we are people of it.
So once again, as we do every May, we’re getting ready to move. We’re pulling our cardboard boxes out of storage, we’re collecting newspapers and bubble wrap, and we’re buttering up our friends with trucks. But this time, we’re moving six blocks instead of 2,000 miles. Because finally, there is a reason to stay: our home.