Having lived here for a year from 2005-06, I moved back to Wales, to get a degree in Biology and watch my siblings grow up a little longer. My degree took three years to ascertain and over the course of that time, I remained in a romantic relationship with a distinguished gentleman caller who lived in JPUSA still. We had a lot of ups and downs, and by the end of the three years we had broken up and gotten back together a couple of times. I had bought a plane ticket back to Chicago shortly before graduating and then breaking up with him yet again. Blue collar to the core, I couldn’t bear to let an expense out of my own pocket go to waste. I returned to JPUSA in the summer of 2009, “just to visit.”
I am still here. I’m no longer dating said distinguished gentleman caller, but I am still here. And a couple weeks in to my second round in 2009, a friend asked me if I thought I was staying. I exclaimed for all to hear, “Stay? Where I can be engaged in meaningful work, enveloped by loving, wonderful, wondering people, with access to all the deep conversation about things that matter to me I could ever want? Stay? Where art and music abounds for the taking? . . . Let me get back to you on that.”
That year was 2014. I have since stopped proclaiming my love, venting my love, for the community for all to hear. I have been changing as a person and the things I want out of life look different. I have experienced some disappointment and pain within the walls of humanity here and have done my share of tallying the days in charcoal. I have been introduced to dark, damp, fungi-ridden layers of myself and the people around me, the treachery and loyalty I am equally capable of. I have hurt and un-loved others.
But I still want this. I still want these people, these human walls off of which I bounce back when I lose myself, fall past my invisible ground floor, choose what is life-sucking. And these people, God knows why, still want me around. I am a problem they have chosen to endure and enjoy for a time, like a pimple nobody pops for fear of scar tissue. (The editor does not agree with this statement. Stasia is a wonderful person.)
I don’t know how long I will remain, but I know that this is a kind, quieter sort of place where people still read good books. And as Lemony Snicket would have us believe, those are the best sorts of places.