Monday, August 07, 2006

All Roads Lead to Boston

And so, I was preparing to leave for Boston. I was trying to find an apartment online, and remembering how badly that had gone on my first Boston adventure (I landed a sweet apartment with a gargantuan price tag), gave up and decided to look for a place when I arrived.

My parents were less upset than I had anticipated, probably because I'd been moping around the house for more years than they cared to realize and were pleased to see me get started again with my life. My mom was teary eyed as I told her that I would stay in a hotel for at least a couple of weeks before I moved to an apartment.

"What about all your stuff?"

"I'll box it up, but can you ship it to me when I get a place?"

"So, you'll live out of a suitcase?" She seemed offended at the thought that the daughter she had raised to keep her clothing neatly folded or hung in her dresser or closet would not be requiring such luxuries for the near future.

"Mommy, I'll be fine. It's okay. It's better than getting stuck in a lease on a place I really can't afford in a neighborhood that's more downtown than community."

"Fine." And she silently started gathering the things I would need in order to safely box up my breakables. She handed me bubble wrap and tape, some old towels I could use for cushions in the boxes and rags once I got to Boston.

My dad took it all in stride, walking in and out of the room where my mom and I stood packing, "I'll clean out the garage when you leave." He always cleaned out the garage when I moved. So, this made my heart ache with all of the times I've left them.

But we all knew that I had to go.

Dawn told me to save her a place on my couch, once I had one, as she fully intended to run away from Sacramento on a very regular basis, "You'll be tempted to start charging me rent, but remember, I'm just a houseguest. Say it with me, 'Dawn is just a houseguest."

After my boss announced my resignation and the reason, my coworkers congratulated me, wondered how I would be replaced (easily, I assured them silently, and probably by someone who cared), and then they heard a rumor about donuts in the breakroom and quickly abandoned our conversation.

Before I knew it, I was standing in my room in the Back Bay Hilton, wondering how the time had gone so fast, how I'd gotten here so quickly, and what on earth I was doing in Boston.

Mike and I talked a few times a day. He had packed up his place in Portland, sublet a condo in Beacon Hill and would be in Boston by the end of the week. He'd take me to our new office the day after he arrived.

Late one night, after a dinner of take-out Chinese from the restaurant around the corner, I rested on the King bed (far too big for one person), sorted through listings on Craigslist. I had found a listing for a one bedroom, with an exposed brick wall, plenty of light and the sights and smells of the North End when I suddenly remembered something very important.

I hate Boston. I hate it with a fiery passion.

I had spent the two years of high school talking solely of returning to California as soon as possible.

And now I was back.

In a city everyone knew I hated, but everyone I knew had neglected to remind me of this small fact or question me on my decision to return here.

There is usually a thin line between love and hate, but for me, there was a thick, thick bar between loving and hating Boston.

Why was I here?

Not for a job. That was the motivation, not the reason.

Not for Hunky Mike, though I might like to think that was the reason.

Then, why?

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Back to Boston

And so I found myself back at home, awaiting Hunky Mike's phone call. I'd eaten dinner, my parents had gone out to run groceries, and I'd settled in for a long wait.

My cell phone vibrated on my desk, wiggling wildly around, as if excited by the caller. I answered, and then I was talking to Mike.

"Hi, Tracy," he replied to my trying-to-stay-calm, "Hello."

"Hey, Mike, how are you?"

"Oh, same old stuff. Wife packed up and left. My job, so. You?"

"Oh, same old stuff. No husband to pack up and leave. My job is boring as ever."

"Oh, gosh, Tracy, it's so great hearing your voice."

Our conversation continued, but I'm not sure I heard much of it after he said it was great to hear my voice. My brain was off on its own little adventure, ignoring the fact that I was talking to a soon-to-be-divorced man about a job possibility and not talking to my boyfriend or husband or anyone.

"So, about this job."


"I don't think you should take it."

"Okaaaay. But you're the one who suggested it."

"I know, I know. But I found out a bit more about that particular newspaper, and I think that you'll hate working down there, hate dealing with those people and will be bored in five minutes living in Southern California."

"Is that so?"

"So, here's what I was thinking, because, you know, I have to get out of here."

"Out of...Portland? But I thought you loved Portland!"

"I moved here because of Kathleen. She wanted to be here, and I found a job here so that it would be possible. But I'm not much for Oregon."

My image of Mike's happy life continued to crumble. I had figured that even if his marriage had broken up, at least he had his swell life in Portland.

"So, what's your idea, then?"




"Okay, you'll have to expand on that a little bit for me. It's been a long day at the office, and I'm having difficulty focusing."

"Tracy, I want to move back to Boston, and I think that you should to."

"Huh! Well, that's not something I expected to hear."

"I know, it's weird. I haven't talked to you in forever, and then I call up and tell you to come to Boston."

"Yeah, it is a shocker. I, uhm, okay...again, what?"

"Boston. I have a lead on a job as a managing editor of an online publication, and I'd like to recruit you as our features editor."

"EDITOR?! Uhm, yeah, I haven't written anything publishable since graduation, so I don't know how that will be possible."

"Tracy, I know what you're capable of, and it's an online publication, and the condition of me accepting the job offer is that I get to pick my staff."

"Oh, staff? Okay, so who else are you picking?"

"I don't know yet. You're the only one I know with a job she's willing to leave."

"Can I think about it? This is a lot to take in at once."

"Sure, take it in, call me in a couple of days and let me know what you decide, okay?"

"Yeah, sure. Thanks, okay."

We hung up the phone, and I sat and stared at the silent phone in my hand.

Could I go back to Boston? Should I go back to Boston?

Before another question came into my mind, it was already made up.

"Boston." I said.