Revisiting Northampton: New Year


Tim and I had our first date in a Starbucks in downtown Northampton, MA.  He checked out my butt as he walked away.  He liked what he saw. (It’s still pretty epic).

We fell in love over coffee and Thai food and “i *heart* Huckabees”.  Our first apartment was on Conz Street, infested with termites and leaning dramatically to the side.  

Our weekend get-always were Northampton.  

Our youth was Northampton.

The day after Tim died, our dear friends Sam and Maddy drove me out of Brooklyn and up to their home in Northampton.  For the next 48 hours they cared for me with nutritious food and hot baths as my mind began the process of processing the events of the previous 10 days.  I drifted through in an altered state of consciousness, my brain disconnected from my body.  Unable to feel or think much at all.  I walked for hours.  I spent money frivolously.  I floated trancelike past the shops and restaurants we had enjoyed for so many years.

I returned to Northampton for New Years weekend.  My parents generously offered to care for my little ones so that I could have a desperately needed break from moming.  I drove back down I91, past the tiny Vermont towns scattering the route, and back into the Pioneer Valley.  My old home.

It was blissful to be back in that space of existence, to be among the familiar sights and sounds of my college days, the days before Tim, the early days of our relationship, the first two years we loved each other.  I stayed with Sam and Maddy again, now in their new home.  To spend some much needed time with two people I love dearly.  To sleep until I woke naturally.  To read and wander and just be an independent human being in the world .

We spent time driving.  We ate good food.  I got a new tattoo of a passage from Tim’s journals, in his handwriting, in our old stomping grounds. I unfollowed all my widow groups on Facebook.  I enjoyed the mental space.  I spent time sitting in front of the wood stove, sipping his favorite cocktail.

Arabesque: Bourbon, Lemon, Honey.  Shaken with ice.

It felt good to feel again in that space.  To be there with people who understood.  To reestablish myself in a region I had come of age in.  

To just sit and be. (“You rock, rock”)

It’s a new year.  It’s 2018.  Tim doesn’t exist anymore in 2018.  His memory remains imprinted on my heart and mind.  His writing remains in journals and notebooks.  His photographs scatter my walls and shelves.  His physical belongings remain in boxes in my parent’s basement.  His words are permanently etched into my skin.  But Tim isn’t here.  
I’m here.

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