An apartment in the city can feel as far away as a cabin in the country, as long as you pick the right one.
The trick is to pick something far from home. Nobody knows or expects anything from you here. Your past is fundamentally passed, a barrier put in place between now and then.
It surprises you, at first, how freeing it is. There is no fear of anybody just dropping in. You wonder if it is cowardly to run so far, but you were not born into this world to be brave. You choose to enjoy it.
You ache for home, but home has become an absent place. For every hundred miles you drove, a friend moved a thousand, and now everyone is scattered. The places you loved are empty shells, so you figure it is time to bury them and love anew. You place roots to fill those holes in your soul. The ache never passes, but it lessens. You are grateful in the knowledge that it will never leave you completely.
You are not quite sure if it is genuine, but it is happy. You learn eventually that you do not owe anyone every private piece of your self, that it is not a crime to be reserved. Disclosure is a curse; instead, you give out details in hints. A professor once claimed that trying to get personal information out of you was like pulling teeth. You laugh at that now, because you suppose that it’s true. Yet, you can’t find it within yourself to change.
You replace old fears with soft things. You love who you want to love, and you dance together in the hallway to lowly hummed music. You bake cookies on your days off and buy coffee with money you barely have. You paint and you dream and you dedicate yourself wholly and you fall apart on the regular, but you’re getting better with that. You are a cliche of every artist that ever made it to their early twenties and you are enraptured with how messy it is. When the posters in the hallway at your high school said “it gets better,” they were talking about this.
You decide that the evenings are your favorite part. You go out for ice cream on hot summer days and watch the sun set over the city skyline. You exist without observation, shrouded in the foliage that the buildings and the people grant you. The birds still sing in the morning, all the way over here.
Corinne Lynema is a writer from West Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature. When she is not writing, she spends her free time spoiling her pet hamster and reading. She can be found on Twitter at @Corily_