I went to the Nats game last night with my friend and a colleague of his. It was kind of a quiet game, and struck me by how different it felt from the Mets home game I went to just a week ago. The already sparse crowd had thinned out quite a bit and the cheers were pretty weak. It seemed like the handful of Braves fans had significantly more enthusiasm than the hometown crowd. It felt a little bit sad…a little bit boring. I know it's unfair to judge a city by its interest in a young team's Monday night game, but the comparison was inevitable. At one point in the sixth inning, I finally turned to my friend and said, "You know, this could potentially be my very last Nats game." He nodded slowly, not taking his eyes off the field for a second. "Mine too," he said.
We're both leaving town soon. He's headed for an island on the other side of the world. I'm heading for an island a little bit closer (and with some of the best baseball fans in the world).
So this is my secret: I've decided to leave DC; I'm going back home.
There are a lot of reasons why and a lot of plans I want to share, but that's for a future post. For now I just want to share this:
The upcoming move has me thinking about firsts and lasts a lot lately. A first is always quick to strike you. It's new and exciting and so very obvious. A couple weeks ago I took a shower for the first time in my friend's apartment. He was standing at the mirror shaving and caught my eye when I passed behind him. He turned a little and gave me an odd smile.
"What?" I asked as I stood in his hallway, wet hair falling past my shoulders.
"Nothing," he said. "I just realized I've never seen you wet before…"
And even though he's one of the people around whom I feel most comfortable and unselfconscious, I remember suddenly feeling more naked and raw than I'd felt in a while. I rewrapped the towel around me and cracked a joke to deflect the attention. But it surprised me how no matter how long you've known someone or how much time you spend with him, the firsts will always have a way of jumping out at you like that. That first kiss that made you so nervous you lost your balance. The antsy excitement of a first day at work. The first time you hear a song you know will become a favorite...
But the lasts are different. The lasts rarely make themselves known. It usually isn't until long after the fact that you realize that what happened will never happen again. Last moments: kisses, dances, conversations, good-byes. They slip by unnoticed until it's too late to go back and remember.
So this time I'm determined to not let that happen. I want to live every moment of this. I know that at times it will be hard, but I really want to do it right. I'm not glossing over anything. I want to say a proper good-bye to the city that I've loved for the past five years. Because even though I'm leaving, I want to always carry it with me [carry it in my heart].