dariaphoebe: (redhead)
Only 90 minutes more, I mused, as I peered down upon the capital of the Buckeye State. Places familiar and comfortable fell briefly under my gaze as I scanned the terrain 38000 feet below. How close I'd come to moving there eleven years earlier.

Today, I found myself en route home for just a few nights, a home I hadn't foreseen then. Work would soon draw me most of the way back across the continent, but a moment's rest as I frantically worked through my backlog of tasks lay ahead to my northeast.

My heart ached for what was behind me, though. I knew I'd see em again soon, as ey'd soon be moving Boston-ward emself. The day, and indeed the trip, had been punctuated with moments of joy, passion and love. But there were other moments, too.

The previous evening under other circumstances might have been a moment to cherish, but instead our bodies were curled together from fear. My existence and eirs were both fragile, and we knew it. More troubling, though, were the many friends who had it worse.

With the clarity afforded by sleep, though, I began taking inventory of my life. I understand what I have to lose and how I might lose it: Family. Friends. Employment. Housing. Health. Life itself. Unlike others in similar positions, though, I would relatively not be missed. No one would go homeless or hungry for my absence. No one would be orphaned.

If you are scared for me, for my future, well, you should be.
But I am far from the only one you should be scared for, and I am not the one you should be scared for the most.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
As we pushed away from the just-retracted jetbridge and back from our gate, I pressed play again on the device laying loosely in my lap. The music came up quickly, leading into a song about a woman who shared her name with a modern programming language. It finished before our taxiing did, but only barely. Shortly into the next song, our wheels left the ground, and we were gone.

We curled northeastward from runway 35R, and I watched a city drop away below me. For someone who'd visited only thrice, it was astoundingly easy to pick out familiar landmarks as they receded into the distance of the window beside seat 13A in the European-built aircraft hurtling me away from somewhere I wasn't ready to leave. I knew the highways that connected the city southeastward to its airport, to be sure, but I also found myself looking at a dam I'd bicycled over just two days prior.

So much territory -- both new and familiar to me -- under my wheels, most of it in the delightful company of someone whose ability and temperament practically duplicated my own. Leaving to return to my own bicycle might well have been something to look forward to, but it wasn't. Its heavier weight and lower cost are practical necessities in my life, but riding more slowly and invariably alone aren't really a thing to be strived for.

It seemed only fitting when, upon deplaning at my layover, the next flight was cancelled. Only when I complained that they planned to send me a long way and cause me to miss the final bus into the city did they offer another option, and I ran to make it -- barely -- before proceeding to Philadelphia, another place I knew well from the air.

The final leg included a look beneath the clouds just long enough for me to see where I'd be sleeping and figure out which approach pattern the weather was allowing. The clouds then returned until we were just about 5 miles from touchdown. A world obscured by the grey blanket that separated me from the soil below had at least made the question I rolled in my head more real than its original, metaphorical intent: where is home?
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
"So, this morning?", she asked. I realized I'd told her the wrong date. April instead of May. Of course, it then hit me. One month.

The previous 36 hours had been a whirlwind of activity. As I walked through airport security bothered by my identification not matching my identity, my phone told me I'd gone from expected-on-time to flight cancelled. Two more snafus followed in short order. But even as the spectre of a missed connection hung over me, I brushed off the worry and shortly boarded my replacement flight.

The music I had playing during takeoff provided as much joy as I could have in an economy airline seat, and I eventually realized the attendant in the jump seat ahead of me probably wondered what I was listening to that made me look so joyful. Why shouldn't I be, I thought. The song that was playing only reinforced it. "You gotta show the world that something good can work. And it can work for you. And you know that it will." My life should look fun to others, I thought, because it is.

The next morning, scooting along the causeway which orbited the north end of San Pablo Bay in the mid-morning light, I was alone with my thoughts and my music. I was feeling sad that I wouldn't have an opportunity to bike as I passed cyclists scattered along my route, when that song from during takeoff again came up, and again I remembered, and I smiled.

Breakfast followed. A brewery stop. More travel. Another brewery stop. More travel. An evening with friends. If the biggest problem I had at the moment was worrying what the name on my documents, my credit cards, my accounts was, well, that soon enough would all be fixed. Perhaps at the moment none of my problems was that big a deal.

Fun. Because it is.
dariaphoebe: (redhead)
We sat at the corner of the bar in a relatively uncrowded pub, sipping libations which were different from the ones we usually saw at home. That (and the concert we'd been to the previous night) was the point of the trip. As they already had a place to put themselves up, I looked nearby for something I could put myself in cheaply in the same area. The neighborhood was one I'd always felt right at home in, and this trip was no exception. As did my beloved South Side, Ohio City had slowly remade itself after a period of decline. There were preserved older elements like the bank-cum-restaurant we'd later have a fantastic dinner in, and the Art Deco masterpiece bridge my latent engineer self always drooled at, as well as some of the cool new things which more recently had been priced out in the blocks around me.

I've been accused of not taking my own safety seriously enough. That's possibly true. But as I had looked for places to stay, I gave consideration to the people who I'd be staying with if I took a room in their house. A professional man a few years younger than me? He might be awkward but he wouldn't be threatened. When that fell through, a married couple with a lifestyle not unlike mine -- accepted.

I found out the following morning when I met my host for the first time that her husband was away. The thoughts flashed in my head: If I wore my history on my sleeve, would I have not been invited in? Did she find me threatening to have in her house with her alone? If so, she didn't betray it, but it was still on my mind. I asked only a bed and a shower, and her home provided those well. But as I confessed my fears to my friends, came the admission from one that it wasn't something that would have crossed his mind.

This was a tax that was mine to pay, and one that offered no surprise to me. I can offer no complaint at doing so. I was there to enjoy a weekend with friends, and I did. The perspective I hadn't previously considered, though, was who else might be less able to deal with the imposition of the added cost of simply going through life due to the mere facts of their existence. It wasn't immediately obvious how, but the takeaway for me was that I needed to find and do my part in reducing those costs for them.

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