I have a lot of family, and I love them very much. Since my move to Atlanta, however, I find myself torn trying to keep in touch with my other family, the one I have made out of friends and neighbors, while struggling to create a new one here.
Let me go back a bit. When I was in college, I made a lot of friends, friends who are still an integral part of my life. After we graduated, most of them stayed in Houston, and so did I , cultivating and cementing the friendships we had begun in four years of living together, studying together, and playing together. The girls I spent my time with then became sisters to me, and, as I had no siblings, I welcomed their presence in my life. However, in 2013, they were scattered across the country, and I had a choice to make. I chose to leave Houston, but I also chose to do whatever was necessary to keep those friendships strong.
I made other friends through the life I had in Houston, and again during my brief stay at home, in Austin. But I moved again, and left those new friends behind. And now I am in Atlanta, meeting new people, and putting the same effort into caring for them that I exerted before.
I don’t love Atlanta. Some people do, but I am not one of them. And I know I will leave here at some point. I am struggling, at this point, to maintain all of the important bonds I have cultivated in other places. And I am still trying to expand my circle here, to make a family for myself so far from home. But, with each new person I meet, a problem lingers at the back of my mind: Will this person be someone I care for when I move on to a new place, start a new life? Will I have to bear the dreadful disquiet of missing this person when I am gone?
I know how some others approach such a problem. “Missing” is not an issue for them; whether by personality or lifestyle, they are unhindered by that burden. And some people naturally fall out of our lives. But I regret each wonderful, worthy person whom I have let go. And those bonds are not easily reforged. I miss the people I have loved, and terribly. Am I to go through life this way, feeling acutely the pain of distance or the heartbreak of regret? Will I leave behind a piece of my heart in every place I choose to call home?
I don’t have the answers to these questions–I don’t even have a way to start sorting the problem. But I thought that perhaps you, Reader, have felt this pain and could commiserate. Or maybe I just felt that I had something to say again, as this horrible year finally begins to fade.