Cold Feet

A month before we left, a friend asked if he could tag along with us.

He said he needed out: out of Albany, out from his family, who had his back since forever, really. It was the reason he stopped trying in high school:

“I stopped taking it seriously, since I knew the business was going to be there.

That was six years ago.

He’s been going crazy ever since.

“You don’t know how sick I am of old people. And omelets. That’s all I see: old people and omelets. If something doesn’t change soon, I’m going to lose it.”

He asked if he could move to Los Angeles with us. If it was okay, he’d fly in after we got settled down and live with us for the year. He wanted the West Coast. He wanted sunshine. He wanted an adventure – at least for a year. If things didn’t work out, then he’d move back. He’d return to the business.

We talked about it over drinks. We expressed our concerns – that it wasn’t okay to piggyback off of us, after we did all the leg work of finding a place to live.

That if he wanted to do this, he had to haul ass, too. He had to be committed. Get in touch with brokers. Travel around town, looking for an apartment we could afford. If he wanted in, he was in all the way.

We ordered more drinks.

We told him this wasn’t a vacation

This was the rest of our lives, and if he wanted to be a part of it, hustle was essential. We’d live tight, especially for the first year. There might be some staying in hostels, possibly some nights in the car. His face darkened.

“Are you planning on living in the ghettos?” he asked.

His desire and his sense of adventure waned. “I have commitments I have to take care of first,” he said. Then later, “It’s just hard. I might have to give up everything I have. Everything I worked for.”

“You’re 24-years-old. You’re still living at home. What is all this ‘everything’ you’re talking about?” I asked.

He nodded. “Maybe you’re right.” He half-smiled. “Maybe this is what I’ve been saving up for all these years, right?”

We left the bar on that note of optimism, with the faint hope we had another brother-in-arms, someone from Back Home, who’d come out west. He drove me home, and we sat in his car, in my driveway. In the quiet night of suburbia, he petted the leather steering wheel as we talked, coaxing it not to worry, he wasn’t leaving just yet.

“Everything in my life was handed to me. I never had to struggle, and I think that’s what I need for a little while.”

I understood that much. We came from similar backgrounds, and there was this need to prove to our respective families we could make it on our own. Even when others scolded us, told us not to be silly, we didn’t have anything to prove to anyone, we knew that wasn’t true.

There was something to prove.

That was the last night we spoke of him coming out to California. Two days later, I received a text from him, his explanation for why he couldn’t make the trip.

“I feel like I’m slowing down your guys’ momentum and I don’t want to get in the way. I know I have to get out of here, but I can’t find a way to make it work. Maybe after a year when you guys are settled in and you want to upgrade and I still haven’t found what I’m looking for, something could be worked out.”

That was it. No phone call, no farewell, no good luck.

It’s simple, to speak of adventure, of doig this or doing that. To talk about how hard your life has been and how bored you are with what you’ve been doing these last six years. It’s simple to talk about struggling.

What’s hard is actually following your dream. Doing it when no one believes in you.

What’s hard is actually struggling.

Continue to Post 3: Packing

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Photo Credit: kikiki1324

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