After a year I thought it would be easier to find a parking spot. A couple of weeks ago I was driving to my favorite coffee shop to write.  The rear parking lot was closed for repair, so I attempted to squeeze my huge rental SUV into the one remaining spot in the very cramped front parking lot until I quickly realized it was a handicapped space. I felt awkward as I tried to back out my Tahoe into busy Nashville traffic.

I drove to Starbucks, and the parking lot was full there too. I finally ended up at Panera. It was missing the cool vibe of my favorite coffee shop and felt a little like a daytime version of a lonely hotel lounge for a few business people busy typing away on their computers. It fitted since I was lonely. It was a Friday and the weekends can feel hard. I was excited that on Sunday night of that weekend I had an evening out planned.

It was Music Night at my kids’ school which is a fundraiser for parents. When I walked in with a friend, I quickly felt the heat rise to my head as I stood for a few minutes alone. I scanned the room, and although I saw many familiar faces, my spot where I usually stood was missing.  It was awkward to back out quietly of a room full of busy chatter within a few minutes of arriving. The chilly air felt good as I walked home on a warm night.

When I looked up at the tall cranes on the busy street driving to my favorite coffee shop, and as I walked home on Sunday night, I saw my landscape in my growing city changing. As time goes on, pieces of the life me and Jay built slip away as happens with loss, and I long for the spot he held for me. It seems there is no place to park in my busy city, and it makes me uncomfortable.

As I walked the rest of the way home, I felt myself slip into the darkness around me not wanting to be seen feeling lost. On the way, I passed Junebug playing hide-and-go-seek with her neighbors and as a teenager having her first sip of beer at Dragon Park. I walked by her house where she grew up and saw her at the kitchen table of a full house. I saw Jay walk up to the doorsteps for their first date and her mom call out as they left "I know a son-in-law when I see one."  

Without Jay here, I feel like I have become re-acquainted with this 26-year-old me who was leaving on a first date with her soon-to-be husband. I walk with her home, and I remind her of all the ways our life is better because of Jay. I reassure her that I have my footing now, even though I doubt this at times, but it seems like the words she needs to hear.  She reminds me about our crazy adventures, and as lost as I feel walking home, it is good to find her. I see a flicker of her independent spirit and in it, I trust that we will find home.

I was driving a  green Volvo when I met Jay.  He saw me circling the parking lot and he showed me where to park. He cleaned out my closet, he complimented my smile and laugh, he became my best friend, he brought out the best in me.  I was cozy next to Jay. It was a spot I could never leave.


Van Morrison, Into The Mystic