Here We Go Again

“Can I talk to you?” R asked, not looking up from his computer screen.

“Sure,” I said, drawing out the word to show my confusion at the request.  It was a warm Saturday afternoon in August, and I was bustling around with laundry and tidying.  The kids were watching TV downstairs in the artificial cool of the air conditioning.  “What’s up?”

“Well, I got word yesterday my company is opening a research facility in Michigan.  Near the airport, about twenty minutes from my parents’ place.”

Oh.  For years, R had always said there was never any chance of us getting transferred back to Michigan.  His company, which did transfer people around a lot, simply had no offices in the state.  The closest we could have gotten would have perhaps been Cleveland, and of course where we used to live in Cincinnati, but never actually in the Detroit area.

“Are you going to try for it?” I asked, slowly.

Of all the times that this could have happened, this was probably the worst.  I’d just signed on with the town Democratic party to run for the local Board of Education.  My friend Tom had encouraged several of us who had been active in the budget process to do it.  We’d just had our caucus a few weeks ago, and I’d just plunked down $250 for campaign signs, business cards and T shirts.  We’d been working ever since on strategy, logo, talking points, a brochure.  I was engaged and excited about it, my first real foray into politics.

“I want to.  What do you think?”

I searched for the right answer.  I couldn’t lie; I missed being close to our families.  The distance made it hard to stay close.  My siblings could never afford to make the nearly twelve hour drive out East to see me.  R’s parents could, and did, but at considerable cost and hassle.  R’s grandmother had recently passed away in Michigan, and it had been hard to be so far away and not be able to help. But I also loved living in CT, being close to New York and my grandparents, the beaches, even our ridiculous New England town.  I loved all of my girlfriends and the respect I’d earned around town as an active volunteer and education advocate.  I couldn’t imagine giving all of that up.

“Well, I think it is an opportunity worth exploring,” I said carefully.  “I’d love to live closer to the family.  How soon would you know if you decided to go for it?”

“Soon, I think,” R said.  “Maybe a month or two.”

A month or two.  That would be September or October.  I closed my eyes and tried to imagine Thanksgiving in a different home, with all of our family assembled around the table.  The picture was hazy and hard to imagine.  But inviting.

“Well, it would be nice to be close to the family.  I think you should go for it and see what happens.”  I swallowed, hard, all of that which I did not say out loud.

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