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A Tale of My Two Cities

A Tale of My Two Cities

I am living a double life – I’ll admit that.  My life revolves around two locations, Raleigh, NC and Huntington, NY and  am teetering tenuously  between the two.  I really love one, painfully so, and attempting to love another and find I am caught in the middle.  How can I love one place down to the bone and not feel a sense of guilt for learning to love the other?   Huntington is part of my heart and soul yet, Raleigh, is now where I reside.  Still not at the point of calling it home.  Hopefully, someday I can bring myself to utter those words.

When I think of home, I think community, of knowing those around you and nothing makes you feel like you are part of a community until you start running into someone you know while going about your daily life.  These ‘run-ins’ can open up a world of possibilities that you might not be exposed to if you avoid those you know while coming from the gym and look as if you’ve seen better days.   Those first few months after I moved here, I operated in a bubble – like a dream (or nightmare depending on who you ask) trying to fill my days because I was too afraid to stay home alone and think about how I my life was turned upside down.  Going to the supermarket, driving to school, camp or the pool without uttering a word to anyone other than my offspring was quite lonely until I had my first run-in at the supermarket with someone I met from the neighborhood.  Only then did it solidify my need to become part of a community – the feeling I had in Huntington.   I was craving those little chats you have about the weather, the latest gossip or problems with the school bus with familiar faces.  It felt as if I had forgotten how to talk and only rediscovered my voice with that first encounter.  As my neighbor walked away from the Deli counter –  where a 15 minute conversation ensued, I knew I arrived.  Perhaps I should be hanging out more often at the Deli line, as I am sure I will run into people I know, who are also held captive for their sandwich meats and cheeses (for more on how I feel about the Deli counter, please check out a previous post

Its funny,  those run-ins with familiar faces have helped lift my spirits more than I can fully articulate.  The feeling of isolation  and self doubt that practically drowned me when I first arrived is nearly gone.   Having that first encounter at the local Harris Teeter not only added a swing to my step, it confirmed my suspicions that there really were nice people out there in the neighborhood but just hadn’t met them.  Now, nine months later, my frequent trips to the market, school, or any other destination has the great potential of me running into someone I know.  Most recently, I ran into a person who was wearing a sweatshirt from a summer sleep away camp in New York that we once looked  into where a friend also works.  I didn’t hesitate to approach this man and ask if he knew my friend and he did!  I found out he recently moved here and lives around the corner!  In the past, I would have never been as forward, conversing with a total stranger just because of a certain sweatshirt without the assistance of alcohol.  I continued peppering him with questions, long after the initial inquiry about the camp.   I know, my arm hurts from stretching it so far back congratulating myself.

On the other hand, the same holds true for when I return home to Huntington, NY for my ‘framily’ (friends and family)  visits.  Recently, we traveled home for the holidays and made plans with friends for dinner.  We went to one of my favorite restaurants in the area, Ruvo of Greenlawn .  When we arrived, not only were we greeted by our friends, but we ran into another friend.   The close encounter with her, validated that I am still part of that community.   The very next day, I had another run-in at a supermarket and again, felt a sense of belonging; belonging to Huntington.

These run-ins, the special encounters that appear so random, probably were meant to mean something greater than just making me feel good. I am sure it was to remind me that I had a good life, with some pretty incredible people by my side in Huntington. Something I am so desperate to hang on to.    Despite the feeling of loss of not seeing these friends on a regular basis, I am grateful for my quarterly visits.  I am thrilled that my worlds collide, as I still consider myself part of Huntington and now, ever evolving, part of Raleigh.

The tale of my two cities doesn’t have an ending as of yet, and am hoping it never does!

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