I had the strangest dream last night. I was a sargeant on the battlefield of Gettysburg. Somewhere in the cold morning light they sounded a charge and the guns started firing. Two of my men were cut down right then. As the morning wore on, people were clinging to each other saying their good-byes, and all over the field, there were less and less standing. When the guns were quiet, I was still there.
I had the strangest experience this morning. I came into work and a lot of people I cared about weren’t there anymore. Take your going-away gift and good-bye and Shall I Never See Thee More Alas? I’m still receiving phone calls with voices whispering “Are you still there? Did you survive?” The battle ends and whether you’re upright or on the ground, the war goes on.
I am obsessed with Blade Runner. I was just thinking today about one of my favorite scenes. Rachel is reminded of an experience from her childhood. It’s an implanted memory, but that’s not important. A spider with an orange body and green legs was outside her window. She watched it build a web all summer. One day there was an egg in it. The egg hatched, and a hundred baby spiders came out. And they ate her.
It’s no secret that my company announced in a press release Monday that there would be layoffs. On Friday night I went to not one but two parties to try to cheer myself up, though I’m afraid it didn’t last through the weekend. Last year about 25 people moved from Seattle to Orlando to work in the corporate office. Many of them were at Kristen’s Friday night, relaxing with a glass of wine or two in the open air. Kristen has a beautiful restored home in Winter Park and as an ideal location to gather, the transplants have met there for a series of parties. Few of us have had time to get to know many people outside of work since we’ve arrived. As afternoon slipped into evening, one after another expressed a misty-eyed longing for the Northwest. Should anything happen to their jobs, they would go back. Having had perhaps more difficulty establishing myself in my new city than most, I am facing losing nearly everyone I’ve invested time into getting to know this year.
I’ve moved from one city to another no less than 10 times. There’s no longing inside me to be in Atlanta, Savannah, Houston, Bellingham, Seattle or Beaumont. What I long for is to come to a resting place, where I don’t spend each day pushing down the feeling in the back of my mind that this home is temporary, this life is only for now. But roots in Orlando have been elusive.
I tossed back my wine, snatched a little of the spinach dip and dashed into the night to make my next appointment at Howl at the Moon. It was Karen’s 25th birthday and you can tell she loves a party. Her friends were dazzling, but it’s not exactly the right environment for making new friends. The dueling piano bar is raucous and loud, and the back-up guitars and drums make it even more impossible to do anything but enjoy the music. Several co-workers I enjoy spending time with showed up and it made the evening. Kyle, you’re a blast when you loosen up, that’s a fact. Nancy bought shots (the same Slutty Red-Heads Kristen ordered us at the company’s TravelShare kick-off) and I took it like a man. Much better than the tequila shot a couple of years ago that I yakked in front of the Senior VP of Sales.
I stumbled into the night and into a Subway. As I sat outside on bench on International Drive, munching a sub, I sent out a text I somewhat regret but at the same time, speaks to the brevity of life. We think the people around us will always be there, even though we know everything is temporary. We lay our heads down on the block, stretch out our arms like we’re flying into the infinity, and we’re still surprised when the axe falls. There have been a lot of times when the opportunity is over, and I never said the things I wanted to say. I’m not sure if I’m going to manage it this time or not… Axes fall so much more quickly than you think they will.