I've been talking about moving for almost a year now. I came to Houston at eighteen for college, and going to school here and living here with the wonderful friends I made then and continue to make has been an amazing experience for me. I've lived here now longer than I have in any other place, but this has never been where I wanted to spend my life.
I've chickened out on moving this year, because it would mean finding a new home and packing up this one in the next two months (my current lease is up on December 1). I don't want to spend Thanksgiving that busy, and I want one last Christmas playing with my band. So I've signed a six month lease, which puts me moving at the end of May. This gives me another basketball season and six more months to watch Dylan grow. This should also be a better time for finding a new place to live.
Last year in December I took a short vacation in New Orleans. I had business in the Big Easy, and decided since my flight was paid for, I'd tack on the weekend. I had borrowed Interview with a Vampire from a friend, and my goal was to read it while I was there, in the midst of its initial setting.
I fell in love.
Not with Bourbon Street, of course. And not even with Cafe du Monde or the touristy ghost, vampire, and voodoo tours, even though I love taking them.
I fell in love with the Mississippi River. With quiet courtyards behind wrought-iron gates. With the narrow old streets, steeped in history. With the pork chops at Fiorella's. With a ham and cheese croissant and a mille fois at Croissant D'Or. With beignets for breakfast on a bench in Jackson Square. With St. Louis cathedral, its choir, and the bishop who welcomed all the people in town for the St. Louis football game, but pointed out with a mischeivous, beatific smile, that God does love cardinals, but saints are even better.
I fell in love with the way this city haunts my heart and pulls at the edges of my mind like a memory out of a dream. I don't know if it's a call from the past or the future. I don't know if there's anything there for me but the adventure of starting out somewhere new completely on my own. But I'm ready for adventure. I know what is there for me. A town I'm eager to explore, and the security of a job I already hold.
There are downsides, of course, but Ike has reminded me that Houston isn't any safer as far as hurricanes go. I'll need to talk to my boss. I'll need to plan out a great apartment hunt. I'll need to remember, when fear makes me think maybe I should just stay put, that I can always come back, or move elsewhere if things don't work out. And I'll need to remember that I can't escape the things I want to leave behind just by moving. They'll follow me, and it's up to me to be stronger than they are, but I can hope that adventure and new experiences can weaken them, make them easier to shake. There are a lot of questions I still have, a lot of doubts.
I have eight months to hash them out, so here goes!