Who's Left and Who's Leaving

Last night Scott and I sit in the lounge at Jardiniere, sipping fancy-ass drinks and debating which cheese on the platter before us is the most pungent. (For the record, Scott? It was that sheep-y one, case closed.) Within 24 hours he'll have emptied his apartment here in San Francisco and will be on a plane to Boston--a mirror image, nearly 3 weeks to the day, of Jenn's departure for New York at the end of May.

So many of my friends seem to be leaving the Bay Area lately that it leaves me dazed and whimpering. Jenn goes, then another Jen (to Austin and then Boston), then Scott, then Val and Isaac a few weeks hence, then S at the end of August, and then...I can't bring myself to imagine or anticipate who's next. This exodus punches dozens of tiny holes in my heart. Why so much loss, and so many goodbyes, in such a short period of time?

I try to focus on who's still here, on what's unlikely to change. Eric and I spend Thursday evening together over dinner, hilariously inappropriate conversation, and "The Hurt Locker," and I marvel again, again at the dumb luck that threw us together at MS lo those many years ago--and at the fact that he's still here, unlikely to leave. I exhale with relief when Dana reports a part in a new play; I fear, achily, that she'll be the next to go, so this is a stay of execution of sorts, at least for a little while. I hold hard to news of friends here who move to new apartments or renovate their houses or take new jobs, thinking, Yes! OK! This is proof that they'll stay for a bit, right?

To some degree, San Francisco has always been a place of comings and goings: I came here amidst an influx of people like me in 1997, and have watched so many of those people leave in the ensuing years, one after another after another. But now it's reached a critical mass--like having a whole hand lopped off at once, I tell Dana, when all I've gotten used to is losing fingers one by one.

That fell swoop is so much harder.