It's the sort of schizophrenic sun/clouds/sun/clouds/clouds/clouds kind of day (literally, that is) that sets me to thinking about change. Realizing that while nothing in my life as is feels wrong per se, there's something in me that's itching for newness, difference, variety. So I opt for the Castro Peet's instead of the one downtown (not entirely thrilling, to be sure, but definitely less crowded and more soothing, in so far as a coffee shop can be) and, en route, think, 'What will it be? A new apartment? A new city? A new set of furniture for my bedroom? [Aim low and you'll more likely hit your target.] A trip to the middle of somewhere I've never been?'

At work I find an email from Daryl waiting for me. He reports that while he and Shayne are generally happy in their Hawaiian idyll, they miss their friends and family back in the contiguous 48 and don't feel they've been able to make the connections with people that came so easily, relatively speaking, in San Francisco. ('We spend more time with fishes than we do with people,' D reports. 'It is good.')

And I turn on my phone to the triplicate beep of a voicemail message, which turns out to be from David, he of so many years ago and that one watershed summer. He and Ian are living in Mystic, he reports, which means that for all of their peripateticism of the past few years they've gone and wound up where they started. He called Mom and got my number, wants to know what I'm up to, wants me to get in touch. Which I will, soon, when I come up with something to say, some words to encapsulate the changes of the past nine years.

On Sinister, tucked into the middle of a story that's no less brilliant for being a non sequitur, someone writes this:

there is a loneliness that is not quantifiable in words. there is a loneliness that stems from the feeling of being somewhere that nobody else has ever seen. there is a loneliness that comes of drifting away from what you've been assured is real, never knowing if you'll come back into contact with it again. there is the loneliness of finding out you've been lied to. these are the causes, not the feeling itself. if words could befriend the feeling through expression, it would no longer be so lonely.

And although those words don't speak for me (this itch isn't loneliness, and to the best of my knowledge I'm not the recipient of any recent lies), they do, somehow, speak to me. I've been there, can sympathize, don't want to go back. And there's the key: I don't want to go back. What I'm longing for is the chance to find out--and to shape--what's ahead. Now it's just a matter of how.

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