Did you get all that? In one month, I am moving to Phoenix, AZ, with the man I love.
Since May of 2008, I have lived and breathed Charleston. I knew I loved the city as soon as I set foot on Rainbow Row. I fell in love with the seafood, the bars, the jazz, and the huge houses with huge porches. I realized, the more time I spent wandering along the beaches of Sullivan’s Island and the historic streets off East Bay and Broad, that I could become a lifer—a northerner who, like many before had “found Heaven” in the Lowcountry, destined to grow old and one day sip warm Grand Marnier on a decrepit porch swing in the Battery.
But who would be with me?
I’ve always joked about growing old with my girl friends—saying we’d be the cougars hitting on young boat owners at Red’s on Shem Creek or maybe even the college guys at AC’s on King. We’ll stick together forever and be sexy, single bitches well into our sixties. We like making these jokes, because in general, the men we have met don’t make us happy. I’ve been of the opinion that it’s not good to meet guys in bars. It’s not good to give out your number to the drunk guy playing pool and actually expecting him to call and offer anything other than cheap liquor and perhaps, an ill-advised sleepover.
Then, I met Jake. At a bar called Burn’s Alley. Playing pool. He liked the way I could sing, and I liked that he could make me laugh. We stayed at the bar until close. Then, we went to Waffle House. Then, we talked music over his laptop, with his roommate’s annoying ankle-biter barking and licking my toes. Then, he got my number, and he didn’t call for more bar-hopping and cheap breakfast at 3 AM. He called for a date. Remember? Those things where you get dressed up and go out to dinner and get to know each other? An actual date. And he made me happy; he still does every day.
Six months after that first date, I’m looking out the window of my apartment in Mt. Pleasant, SC. The sky is blue. It’s a little chilly for this late in January, and the grass is showing no sign of spring green. When I close my eyes, I can already see the red desert. I can already see cactuses in between the palm trees. I can see me and Jake.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m not there yet. This is only Exodus, Part I.