Between Boxes

Recently, my favorite coffee shop closed. I had been writing there since the summer of '99, when I first moved to Los Angeles.

It was as much an extension of me as any place I've ever been - my one constant home no matter the what. So when it suddenly closed, inexplicably, I was shattered. Heartbroken. Depressed and emotional and angry and sad. I started going to a new coffee shop - one that was local, in walking distance to my house - it was Hal's coffee shop - the place he liked to write, but he was about to go back to work after a month-long hiatus, so it was kosher for me take his place. (Hal and I have always worked at separate spaces - he has his cafe posse. I have mine.)

I easily fell for the new coffee shop like one typically does after a painful break-up. I was rebounding in a big way but it was more than that. I had mourned my past, prepared myself to move on. And within a week? Had fallen in love with my new space. It felt like home. A new home. I was happy there.

A week later, my old coffee shop inexplicably re-opened. I should have been thrilled. Instead I felt like my best friend just faked her own death. I was furious. I felt manipulated and dicked around. My friends all returned to the coffee shop but I stayed behind. At my new cafe.

I've since been back a few times since it reopened but never has it felt the same. My favorite table, always taken. The IPOD a friend and I filled and gifted to the owner, MIA, radio commercials crackling in its place. I no longer felt inspired there.

It had changed and so had I. And that was sad. But also a relief. Because eleven years is a long time to be monogamous with a cafe. The touch of new tables and baristas hands was something I didn't realize I needed until I was forced to stray.

This week has been weird. I'm obviously beyond thrilled to move and yet? I've been sad. Angry. Overwhelmed and stressed, pacing the space like a zoo animal, banging my head against boxes. For the last four and a half years, this has been my home. With all of its idiosyncrasies, home. And not only my home but OUR home - the only home my kids have ever known.


And it's hard. Harder than I thought. I suck at goodbyes. I emote very easily. The other day Archer told me he didn't want to move and Hal said "Oh, Archer. Yes you do! Our new house has a yard! And a playroom! And we'll be able to get a bike and a drum-set for the garage andandand..." and I got all snappy and told Hal to "Shh! He can be sad if he wants to be. This is very sad in a way!" and Hal looked at me like I was crazy but it's true. I watch Archer scamper through the yards of neighbors holding hands with his local friends and am heartbroken. Even though our moving out means moving up. Moving on.


I'm not at all looking forward to Saturday. To driving the kids away from their home and starting from scratch. That will change of course. I keep reminding myself about the coffee shop and how I didn't want to leave. Until the doors locked behind me and suddenly I found myself staring into the eyes of DIFFERENT - fresh rooms and new beginnings. Not to mention tables that weren't wobbly...

...More, here.