The first time you asked me, “How would you feel about moving to Texas?” I laughed.
I thought you were joking.
Because there was nothing on the surface that had ever called to me about Texas. And there were enough stereotypes about it being unsafe there for people who were different… well, it was disconcerting for a person who has considered herself an outsider her entire life. Who has spent most of her time alive feeling like she was standing on the outside looking in.
But you weren’t joking. You had a job offer, one that started out informal at first, tentative. But that became more promising the more we learned about it.
And I researched Dallas, the area where your new job was. It was actually a much bigger city than the one we currently lived near, in the suburbs of Cleveland.
Cleveland had seemed big to me after growing up in the Maine woods, and Dallas would seem like another big step up. Dizzying, overwhelming. But if history were any indicator — exciting.
The more research I did on the area, the more sense it made. The numbers fit perfectly. It would be the perfect step for us, as far as dollars and cents, cost of living and economic opportunity.
Within a matter of weeks, moving to Texas wasn’t a punchline anymore. It was feasible. And then we were doing it.
I packed up everything while you finished up your projects at your old job and then onboarded at a distance with the new job. You did as much DIY as you could before you moved down to Texas, and then I went back to Ohio and did the rest. I sent all of our things with the movers to Texas. Even though I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, I painted half the walls in that house. Spruced up as much as I could. Installed a wallbase. Landscaped. Worked with the realtor. Sold the house.
It had been where we’d lived together for almost a decade. Emptied of our things, fancied up for buyers, it didn’t feel like home anymore. It was just a building.
Six weeks later, I followed you down to Texas.
I didn’t do much in the very beginning. I was exhausted from all the work I’d just done. And I felt like I was on an alien planet. Dallas is nearly sunny all of the time — except for the occasional violent storm — and that sunlight is a different color than the sun up north.
But slowly, I began to find my bearings. After we returned from Christmas in Maine (the last time I’d ever spend with my father, before he passed away in the spring), I began to take pottery classes and meet my first local friends. And you began to make some yourself, from other classes you were taking.
Two months later, covid-19 disrupted all of that, driving us inside.
Four months into the pandemic, and it’s still not exactly safe. Particularly not in Texas. We live in a hot zone. But we’ve been talking to our local friends and slowly developing those friendships at a distance, even if everything’s moving at time lapse speed.
And remarkably… I’ve never felt closer to you. I feel like the experience of fixing up the house, selling it, and moving drew us closer together. Having to work as a team, spending time apart, all of it strengthened what we had.
And the way you supported me through my father’s illness and the grief I felt with his passing… well, I’ll never forget it.
And I’ve found that even though the pandemic has driven us inside, spending more time together than ever before, that we’re getting along great.
But recent events have made us even closer. Something I didn’t even know was possible.
Anyway, I didn’t expect to fall more in love with you when I moved to Texas. But here I am.
But they do say that everything’s bigger here, don’t they?