This is a “Guest Letter” written by my friend, Megan, who leaves Chicago tomorrow for the Texas heartlands. Megan and I met through a fitness (cough, semi-cult) group here in Chicagoland called November Project. In the time I’ve known her, she’s run marathons in superhero costumes, given fierce hugs, and even listened to some of my rambling stories and ideas.
This idea in particular– writing a Guest Letter– was prompted by a post-happy hour sushi eating session in which both of us wound up gushing:
WOW MOVING AND LEAVING PLACES AND PEOPLE REALLY SUCKS.
AND IS ACTUALLY SO SO SO HARD.
The moonlight on the bayou
A Creole tune that fills the air
I dream about magnolias in bloom
And I’m wishin’ I was there.
“Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans,”
As I look out over my friends’ backyard, the moon floats over the bayou.
The air feels heady.
And seemingly everyone I could’ve ever wished into existence is standing, right there, amidst the grass and the crawfish boil tables and the twinkling lights in front of me.
Two weeks ago, I returned to New Orleans for a whirlwind weekend of running and parades and naps by the bayou and reconnecting with friends. On the last day, I returned to the Bayou and found several new letters and an empty notebook (!). Here is the letter I left in the notebook:
Dear Bridge (& by extension, Valley Green),
I’m not really sure when I’ll see you next– throughout 2018, I’ve had the privilege of coming back here countless times for weddings and races and high fives and hugs.
But as for 2019, on verra.
We shall see.
There are more elaborate, more poetic, more profound ways of putting all of this but right now, I just want to write everything IN ALL CAPS:
BECAUSE I AM HOME AND GET TO EAT FLAKY PASTRIES AND HUG MY FRIENDS AND DRINK MIMOSAS ON PLAYGROUNDS AND PLAY SHARKS AND MINNOWS WITH HUNDREDS OF TINY HUMANS AND SIT NEXT TO THE BAYOU AND JUMP OUT FROM BEHIND DOORS AND SHRIEK WITH DELIGHT AT SEEING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WHOM I HAVE MISSED SO SO MUCH AND Y’ALL!! I AM HOME.
Weird happy hand dances 4 dayz.
Yesterday was one of those days where I missed New Orleans more than most.
It doesn’t happen as often anymore– not pangs of heart-pulls. Not moments of dizziness.
Just random moments that seem to pop up out of thin air and make me miss the tiny things:
Sometimes, I am completely gobsmacked by how COOL and AMAZING and AWE-INSPIRING the world can be.
WHERE: Live Oak Tree on the Edge of the Lake/Golf Course, Audubon Park
WHEN: 7-something AM, Central Time
Let me tell you a story–
the very first time I spotted you, I was 20 years-old and riding the streetcar from one end of St. Charles to the other. I saw an arcing entrance, palm trees, a massing of Spanish moss, and legit sprinted off the streetcar shrieking,
“YOU GUYS, THIS IS THE PARK!”