Snow fell and temperatures plunged as I stood before the Planning Commission into the night instructing on the Utah laws of conditional uses and open and public meetings. Brian and Avery had offered me their guest room should I decide to stay the night, sometime. Well, sometime was tonight. I texted Mom and Dad, and drove the three miles from City Hall to Brian’s apartment, which had been my apartment for the six years preceding his arrival, the apartment to which I moved when divorce drove me from my home. The walls of that apartment watched six years of pain and coping and enduring and learning to live instead of aching to expire—of figuring out how to flourish. Entering that home tonight and making my bed and eating and bathing and sleeping there felt surreally strange. My little girl was nine years old when I moved out. I told her mother that our divorce would rip the little girl’s heart out. “She’ll be fine.” No, she won’t be fine: this will tear her heart out. “She’ll be fine….” A young woman now, her little girl heart still yearns for reconciliation, and I am unable to tell her why it cannot be—she has lost those dreams, compelled to make her own. Brian and Avery were so kind to me, with dinner and conversation, bedding and a towel, and snacks. And little Lila rejoiced as I stepped through the door and hugged her and read books and played blocks and Hot Wheel cars and watched Mr. Rogers snorkel and tell the world why we need to protect our oceans, both for the exquisite ocean life, and for ourselves. Driving the short distance to work the next morning, in ice and snow, I realized how much I preferred my one-hour commute with its biographies and histories and meditations over these familiar three miles with their echoes of anguish.
(Pictured above: my apartment, a blessing, built for the manager, but rented to me.)