I was going to go sit on the couch and write this, but then I remembered our couch is no longer here. It is buried somewhere beneath piles of stuff in the moving van parked at the end of our driveway. In fact, the only things left inside the house are our air mattress, a few last minute boxes, and a lot of empty echoes. It is strange how much the house echoes when all our stuff is gone.
We’re leaving tomorrow, and I’m not sad. Every once and a while, I get this nagging pang that maybe, just maybe, I didn’t try hard enough. I didn’t give St. Louis a chance. But that isn’t true. I did. I gave it almost four years of my life, and in the end, it didn’t work.
What I’m left with is a list, a very short list, of the things I will miss when we leave here. Tomorrow morning.
1. Forest Park
I ran here, almost every day (aside from the last several months of stress fracture/tendon injury) on the gravel paths that perimeter the park. It must have added up to thousands of miles. I knew every stretch of the loop. It’s really the only place to run in the city. The only place where you aren’t constantly stopping at stoplights and in the thick of traffic. I think if I wouldn’t have had Forest Park (and lived within running distance of it), we wouldn’t have lasted here nearly as long as we did.
Forest Park was the first place we went after my job interview, almost 4 years ago. We were thinking, St. Louis? Could we really live here? And we had a picnic by the fountains and considered all the miles we could run on the crushed gravel trails, and we decided, let’s give this a try.
I took Will back to that same place last week so we could say goodbye.
2. Wydown Road
This is about a 2-mile long stretch of multimillion dollar houses that has a wide multi-use path (i.e., bikes, foot traffic) on either side of the road. Even when there is a 4-inch sheen of ice covering everything else in the city, the multi-use path on Wydown Road is clear. In the winter, sometimes it is the only place you can run. What makes Wydown even better is that there is a grassy median in the middle with a worn-down dirt footpath. Because of the dirt path on Wydown, and the crushed gravel at Forest Park, I’ve been lucky to do very little concrete and asphalt running even in the city.
3. Our house
I liked our house, I really did. It was in a great location, and it had character. It had a red door. I loved that. I’d never lived in an old house before. In its 88 years of existence, I often wondered what kind of people had lived here and what kind of things they had done. I never found any old love letters or anything, though, so I guess I’ll never really know.
4. Our neighbors
Our neighbors are good people. There are a lot of kids close by, and Will was just getting to the point where he was becoming friends with them. On nice days, we would go out to the park and Will would play stomp rockets or superheros or ride bikes with his friends. I know he will make other friends in Colorado, but it is going to be really hard for him to let go.
5. These people
I hope they don’t mind my posting this picture of them. I love these people. These are some of the best people on earth. They are my former co-workers/colleagues, and there are of course others who are not pictured in this photo. These people were my family while we lived here, and even after I quit my job, they made sure that I got through the last few difficult months. I am so lucky to have met them, to forever have them in my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for always being there for me.
Well, that’s about it. Everything’s packed (almost, at least). There’s nothing left to do except try to get a good night’s sleep and then head west at first light.
Thanks for reading.