Places She Never Meant To Be

Portland, for one.  The great City-of-Readers has been my home for the past four years.  I followed my heart to get here, and my heart followed a boy.  It would have been a cuter story if the Boy hadn’t been following his heart to a different end.  But life isn’t really about cute, is it?

The Boy met a beautiful French Girl two weeks before I moved into the college dorms.  They fell in love.   She went to his school, I went to another.  And that was that.

Except it wasn’t.  Like any frisky, hormonal, romantic, optimistic eighteen year old, I was devastated.  I was living in a city far away from my parents, all alone in a dorm, and completely without friends.  My whole world had revolved around my newly discovered sex life for the past two years, and without that heated security, I was lost.

I’ve had the move to Portland on my mind a lot lately.  It stands for all the places I never meant to go.  Not physical places.  States of being.  Sometimes I feel like I let myself be dragged through life on a whim.  Am I doing it wrong?

Is it cheating if I pretend like I’m a fictional character in a novel in order to make decisions?  I look at my life like the plot of a story and try to seize the most interesting combination of events.  Or maybe I just spend too much time thinking about it and not enough doing it.

I also never meant to be leaving Portland five years after getting here.  Hm, that might be a little bit of a lie.  I was ready to leave Portland the moment I got here (I thought I’d be moving to Scotland).  I was ready to leave again as soon as my heart was broken again (this time I thought I’d be moving to Paris).  Then, when my heart was broken most recently, even though I did a lot of the breaking, I was ready to call it quits (moving home with Mom and Dad sounded better than being alone in the big city).

Somehow, still here in Portland after all that, I’m planning to leave again.  This time I’m not running from anything or wishing for a fresh start and a different life.

I’m leaving for love.  So I can’t help thinking about all the places I never meant to go, and how they’ve all been here in Portland.  And I can’t stop thinking of all the different places I’ll never mean to be.  And, however misguided I may be in saying this, I’m okay with that.

Bring it on, Judy Blume.  Let’s go some places.

In case you’re thinking, “Judy Blume? WTF?” Pour vous: BOOK (“Going Sentimental” was my favourite story growing up)


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