My dear friends

*Disclaimer: I didn’t reread this so take no responsibility for its content*

Sizzling potatoes and their golden smell wafting from the kitchen; Pat is still asleep after a long, wonderful birthday/going away party he and my dear friends threw for me last night. This week has exhausted me like a labor. I was trying not to fall asleep at midnight, sitting in a hammock chair in a screened-in porch on a hot night with a fan blowing on my back – sounds hard right?!
My departure is getting so real. My girlfriends made this hilarious, beautiful scrapbook of Pat and my time here. Pictures from the years of Ugly sweater parties, Up The River before the flood washed it all away, Easters and Christmases their families invited us in to share the wine and mounds of food. These people have become our family here. It’s so sad to have to leave it.
Yesterday was an emotional day. My boss started crying when I went to say goodbye, giving me this hearty dad-like hug and then hoisting my box of desk things onto my hip and looking back to everyone knowing this was the last time; waving “bye guys” half of them not even looking up into a moment that meant something to me, but for them, tomorrow they’ll be back there doing the same work they always were.
Last night at my party we had far too much food and not enough appetite: burgers, pulled pork, calico beans, salad, pasta salad, buffalo chicken dip, chips, guac. I decided since I wanted a burger and pork and calico beans that I would put them all together in one triumphant sandwich. I couldn’t eat half.
Hot summer night, full stomach, couple twotree beers (that’s how they say a couple two three around here) and a fan: no way anyone could stay awake through that. But I tried, even while nodding off, I forced my eyes open.
But those boys, at the end of the night, after the fans had blown out all but 6 of my birthday candles and their packs of cigarettes began to dwindle kept wandering over to me, glassy-eyed begging me not to leave, saying it without really any hope, but more so it was known. They said they loved me and gave me the kind of hugs they’d give their wives or sisters, women they’d sworn internally to protect.
I cried the whole way home, holding Pat’s hand, wondering why we have to do this all the time: Leave people we’ve grown to love who we’ve somehow tricked into loving two aimless wanderers back.

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