I’ve started a couple different posts today and in retrospect, they were snarky and counterproductive and I’m glad I didn’t post them. And 30 seconds ago I was jamming a cube organizer together for the room that I’ve been waiting nine days to move into. And it’s, you know, waiting to be finished. But I have waited nine days, so what’s 20 more minutes? (In the “for what it’s worth” category, my bed is made.)

I’m excited to finally be moving in. But to be frank, I’m also scared shitless for some reason. Maybe it’s because it coincides with a weekend during which I happened to feel both scared in Chicago and lonely in Chicago for the first time, and moving in really suggests permanence  — all two months of it, anyway. But the week that I’ve been here has already felt like a lifetime in so many ways, both good and bad. So moving in scares me.

But here I am with my bed made. It looks like me; it’s a little bit like home, or some version of what my homes have looked like in past summers, past school years. And I’m jamming together this piece of furniture. It’s a good thing I remember how to assemble it, because while I managed to save all the pieces from last summer, the directions did not make the voyage. But I remember how to put it together because I put it together all by myself last summer too, in a hot, grimy, second-floor bedroom in Des Moines on the verge of breaking up with someone I was pretty sure I didn’t love anymore. He could have put it together for me like he had assembled and held together everything else in my life for the last year and a half, but I sat and hit those octagonal piece-of-shit connectors together with those plastic slats until I made a 12-box cube that contained most of my life for those two months.

I stayed with my boyfriend for two weeks more before breaking up with him, shattering both our hearts and giving me one fewer massive reason for staying in Des Moines. So I spent the summer incredibly sad, resentful of the distance between me and Kansas City and clueless and disconnected in a city that I had spent two years living in. (And for the record, I’ve become more attached to Des Moines, its people and its culture in the past year than I ever thought I could. It’s the third-best city in the whole world.)

But the only things from last summer that came with me are my bedding, rug and this stupid 12-cube organizer.
To be sure, I’m in a distant, relatively unknown city. I have no boyfriend and few friends to speak of in the vicinity. But looking to June, resentment has been replaced with a desire to be a better, more connected friend to make the distance feel smaller; the occasional sadness gets blocked by discovering what here can make me happy. And in my nine days here, I’ve never once felt disconnected to this city — but I’ve also never wanted to be part of something more.
I brought some fear with me, too. But I think that’s normal.
I’m such a different person. I’m such a better person. What a difference a year makes.

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