June 2016- August 2016
My time as a graduate student was quickly coming to a close; graduation only 6 months away. I waited anxiously for it to end but feared reaching this final chapter. I stretched in my skin, in early summer of 2016 as I explored life after a Mental Health professional and stepped into a restaurant uniform to serve in other ways.
Planning for next adventure started. Mr. Grumpy explored options but had not decided. As I hushed a scream of anxiety at having to start a new life I held reality as close as I could.
I recall my close friend, Nene (pronounced Nay – Nay) being sad about having to leave the mountains. She had fallen in and out of love before the arrival of Christmas 2015. Her plans for the future had been bleached and sterilized by a man’s unforgiving and heartless decision. I remember holding her, supporting her. Before the first gust of Summer (2016) she had rekindled a love she always held but never dared to bring to life. She patiently bloomed and grew like a fiery rose. And just as her life with this man began to sprout, her life in the mountains became to whiter.
I remember thinking how painful it must feel to leave the place that homed her intellect, her launch into adulthood, her love for a new family. I still have the image of her, looking around the agency, where we both worked at, trying to memorize each door, each crevice, each chair so that she may take the ghost of that place with her wherever she went. I remember laughing, thinking it silly. Saying goodbye was something I refused, on my own accord, to accept. As if I, would always live attached to this Agency and to these mountains. I knew it was not possible. I knew I was afraid.
I filled my time with course work and friends. I explored what life would happen after my career as a student came to an end. I remember talking, extensively, with a close friend about working in a treatment facility. I would laugh and think about it sucking my soul out. As if Mental Health work was always about catharsis and magical art-making sessions. I was truly naïve.
Summer ended and so did an era. I extended to my departing loved one all my strength, all my love. I said goodbye to NeNe, and remembered all our growth together.
Her departure rung like a warning alarm. “You’re next”, I heard. And though I knew it to be true, I knew not where “next” would be for me.