I have a bit of Wanderlust in my heart. Just a bit. I like to go new places and see new things. But sometimes, I like to go to old places and visit familiar faces. That’s what I did this time.
I hopped in my car after work and headed 6 hours east. Back to Wisconsin. Back to my room-mate and my friends, and my coworkers, and my singles group. Everything familiar. The route I take is the same, a little more green than the last time I drove through. But the same old road construction is still going strong just east of Waterloo. And the same little pizza place was there with my absolute favorite pizza, hot and waiting for me when I pulled into the parking lot.
I arrived just after 8:30 p.m. and my room-mate LaVone was there waiting for me. I grabbed my suitcase out of the back seat, flipped a key on my key chain to find the right one, and viola! I was there. I gave my familiar greeting as I walked in the door. And received the same response that I always got. But this time, LaVone said I should come into the living room. She was sitting at her favorite end of the couch. Her complexion was more gray than usual and that should have been a tip-off.
She began with “You’ll never guess what I’ve done now.”
She was right, I wouldn’t have guessed. She had been out with friends earlier in the day. She had turned and tripped over a stool. The stool fell, and she followed suit on top of it. The result was 4 broken ribs and a cracked sternum. Not good.
On the upside… I was there and she wouldn’t be alone tonight. We fell in to one of our ‘Golden Girls” late night chat marathons. It was nearly 1 AM when we had caught up and decided someone should sleep now. I have to admit something though. I made her mad during our talk. You see, we laughed. And laughed. And it made her ribs hurt. Although I was sorry that she had pain, it was good for her to be taking deep breaths…. and ‘laughter IS the best medicine”.
The next morning, we moved ahead with all of the plans we had made for my visit. In spite of her injuries, we still had friends over for dinner. I shopped and cooked and organized. She rested and saved up her energy so she could enjoy the gathering. She wouldn’t hear of cancelling.
At nap time for my room-mate, I went to visit with former coworkers. It seemed like de ja vu walking back into the building, up the stairs and into the office I worked in. Familiar and yet, there wasn’t that sense of belonging I had once felt. It has only been three months since I left, but I guess time has marched on. And I completely realized just how much, as I walked through the doors. The front desk was no longer occupied by… me. There was another cheerful face sitting there managing all that I had managed. She looked good there too.
Then a familiar face.. and another. Hugs and smiles and a couple of tears. Lots of catching up, lots of getting ‘the rest of the story’ since I had left there. It was good to see my boss.. I told her how proud I felt of the work they had been doing. (I keep up with all of it on facebook.)
The day I left was sort of unexpected. And there hadn’t been a chance to say my proper goodbyes. Now, things felt settled in my mind. I think for them too.
After the visit, it was back to the cooking and the dinner party. My room-mate had a good sleep and wanted to come and help, but soon realized resting was her best option. I informed her that her contribution to the dinner would just be sitting at the table and visiting. And we all had a lovely time.
The next morning, I met a couple of friends for breakfast at one of my favorite haunts… The Citrus Cafe. Always a crowd and always great food. Then before I left town I had a couple of errands to run. Prescriptions and groceries for my room-mate.
Finally, many, many thanks to Betty Jo who stopped by with her remarkable packing skills, we refilled my car to the brim with more of my belongings.
When it was time to leave… I felt sort of sad. I had really missed the familiarity of my old job and especially my friends who had grown to be my Wisconsin family. We had spent our holidays together, we had met at least couple of times a week for the past two years. We were always ‘there’ for each other. And now I was going so far away.
I guess I’ll be wandering back this way soon.