Truth be told, I’ve always wanted to run away. I was five when I loaded my Radio Flyer red wagon with a few necessities and made it as far as my next door neighbors’ house before my mom showed up to check on my plan. When I was thirteen, I thought my life couldn’t be any worse, and I wrote my Granny and Gramps in Oklahoma City and asked if I could move in with them. My parents put an end to that fantasy. I suppose it only makes sense that I’ve run away from my adult life a few times. It takes so many years to learn how to adult properly. I’m still not sure I know.
In 2007, Misti moved to Sitka, Alaska for the sake of adventure. She had visited a friend who lived there, and a teaching job manifested itself. We always stayed in touch.
In 2008, my marriage teetered on the brink of demise, and I felt that urge to run. At Misti’s invitation, I booked a flight to Sitka through Seattle. Misti is one of those people (it must be the teacher in her) who makes everything seem easy and leaves a person feeling empowered. During my stay, we hiked mountain trails and chased waterfalls. We boated all around and cast our lines. I caught a fifteen-pound salmon and (mostly) reeled it in. We spotted eagles soaring and whales breaching. We hot-tubbed and karaoke-ed. Every time I hear Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On,” I smile and shake my head at the memory of Misti with the microphone.
As a teacher and a mom of two teenagers, I hadn’t had the opportunity to book flights and travel solo much, but Misti talked me through everything including a layover in Seattle on my return. At Seattle-Tacoma International, I stowed my carry-ons in a locker and hopped a bus downtown to Pike Place Fish Market. I entertained myself for hours, and I found my way back via taxi unscathed and on time for my flight.
In 2009, Misti moved back to Texas and drove her car home, the first leg via ferry. I flew to Sacramento and met her there. The last half of Misti’s move was a road trip adventure across the American West for both of us. First stop Napa. Then San Francisco.
In 2012, thanks to our friend Michelle, Misti and I both landed jobs in the same new school in another school district just north of Dallas where suburbs meet country and kids greet teachers in the hallways. We had waited three years for open positions, and we took them together. And so our friendship continued with lunch daily and outings to Shakespeare in the Park and dinners and concerts and art museums.
In 2016, my friends from school threw me a farewell happy hour. Kody’s job had been transferred to Houston, and so had we. The occasion called for a martini—dirty. Bourbon on the rocks for my friend. I like Houston regardless of some bad luck here, but I miss my friends made over the course of seventeen years—like my friend Misti. But you know what? If I ever need to run away, she has a room to spare.
I jumped on to this A-Z blogging challenge at the last moment and without a plan, and it looks like gratitude has brought me to the half way mark. Thanks so much for reading! All posts are clickable below:
A is for Apple and B is for Boozer and C is for Champagne and Chanel No. 5 and D is for Dad and E is for Epiphany and F is for Faith + Gratitude = Peace + Hope and G is for Great _______ and H is for Hatbox and Honeysuckle and I for an I and J is for Jesus and K is for Kody and L is for the Lovely Lauren