Part of what makes maintaining a blog difficult (for me) is figuring out the story I want to tell. The harder part is breaking it down into bite-size posts that are easier to digest.
You didn’t come here to read a book, but there are facts that are relevant to the story and I have a hard time gauging how much I should squeeze in. For example, if I write “my dad died about two weeks before my 13th birthday,” I feel like there should be some context around that.
There’s a story there, but it’s too big for this post, you see?
All you need to know in this instance is the fact that he’s no longer with us and I’m his only living child, therefore the settlement checks that he would’ve received for the passing of his father (some asbestos case, I don’t know much about it) all come to me. The checks are few and far between and they’re really not much, but it’s nice that I get them.
Leslie is my cousin-roomie.
She’s my second-cousin if you want to get technical and I’ve rented a room from her for close to two years now. They say it’s hard to find a good roommate and that’s true. It’s even harder to find a great roommate and we’re blessed to have that in each other. One of our favorite nights of the week is Wednesday because it’s our pre-established wine night and One Day by Matisyaho & Akon is one of our favorite songs because we’re both dreamers.
Sometimes a few of our girlfriends here in the neighborhood will join us and we’ll talk about boyfriends, husbands or singleness and whatnot, other times it’s just the two of us and we’ll imagine the futures we want, lifting our glasses to toast to our dreams until there’s no more wine to pour.
One day, one day, one daaay
Sometimes in my tears, I drown
But I never let it get me down..
We’re motivators to each other some days and bad influences on others. We encourage each other in the good times and keep the wine flowing through the bad, and we’ve had our fair share of both. I’m not going to put her business out there but one of my most common “one day’s” revolves around finances. There’s so much that I want to see and do but I haven’t made the most responsible choices over the past few years so it’s difficult to do them.
A big thing for us both is travel.
We talk about it all the time and it’s our most common “one day” but we rarely do it. It came up again last week, though, and we determined that the people who are out there doing the shit we want to do probably don’t have their shit together the way we imagine they should just because they’re out there doing it, you know?
Maybe they’re broke as f***.
Maybe they decided that the experience of life was more valuable to them than some ever-fluctuating number in a bank account somewhere that supposedly determines how much we’re worth. Maybe it was as simple as setting a little cash aside and calling up a friend to say “Hey, we’re past due, where do you want to go next month?” and then they pull out their planners, put pen to paper and then just f***ing do it.
I was pretty broke over the holidays which is as frustrating as it sounds.
I got a call from a lady named Sherry about three days before Christmas. Sherry works at a law office in Texas and said they mailed a check to me for my dad’s share of the settlement for Papa Jim’s asbestos case. The check was returned to their office so she was calling to make sure they had the right address. I was frustrated with Sherry because she actually called me last August to say they’d be mailing the check then and asked for a good address to send it to, which is where I live currently.
Way to stay on top of things, Sherry.
Anyways, it’s the Wednesday after New Year’s and Leslie and I are caught up in one of our “one day” conversations when she mentions a co-worker invited her to Canada. She says at first she said ‘yes’ without hesitation because the plane tickets are stupid cheap and the Airb&b looked great, then she remembers she’s taking Spanish this semester and decides she shouldn’t miss class, so she says ‘no.’
“You can’t miss Spanish!” says Arielle, her co-worker, with obvious sarcasm and a laugh.
Leslie’s impression of her makes me laugh, too.
I say to her “you’re dumb, you should go” with a tinge of envy inside.
I’m part French-Canadian and this should be my trip, too, but it’s a “one day” opportunity right in front of her that she could make happen, so I set my jealousy aside and I’m thrilled. She needs to do this.
I drunkenly extend my hand to her and say something along the lines of
“Leslie, I don’t know how much this check is going to be, but I may never get anything else from my dad again. I can’t waste it on something basic like bills,” with a slur.
“I’ve got to do something special.”
Her eyes widen with agreement and her head shakes ‘yes.’ She points her finger right at me, like she’s calling me out.
“That’s right, man. You totally should.”
“I’m broke right now” I start to pledge, “but if there’s enough money on that check to make it happen then you can miss Spanish, we’re going to Canada.”
She shakes my hand, the deal is done and the wait for the check is on. Just like it has been since August..
Too make a long story shorter I’ll spare you the details of the wait for it to come.
Imagine a 26-year-old millennial who’s down on her luck marching to the mailbox with thoughts of “God, please let it be today” and that’s basically me for two weeks. Income from a few other sources had been held up for a while, too, which is also as frustrating as it sounds, so it was a relief to feel the drought lift when I finally got paid this past Sunday from a non-profit that I do some work with once a week.
I don’t do it for the pay, but still.
I check my email the next day where I see a payment I wasn’t expecting and it’s more than I thought it would be.
I kick back on the couch, put my hands behind my head and let my eyes gently close because I need to stop and think.
I soak in the gratitude of the moment and it’s richer than anything I’ve felt in a while. I pray and I tell God “thank you,” but I’m not thanking him for the money, although I’m grateful for that, too.
I thank him for making me wait.
I’m so thankful.
I think about how it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important to you when you’re comfortable where you are or have more than you think you need. I think we curse when we’re broke or when we think that we lack, but I think we have more than we see.
I think about the irony of life.
I think about how I’ve been so cash-starved for so long (or so it feels) and I think to myself of all days, the check is probably in the mailbox today.
I unfold my arms from behind my head and take a deep breath. I’ve made this walk before only to return empty-handed time and time again, but I’m unusually confident this time. Deep down, I know it’s here.
And there it was.
We’re going to Canada.