I walked into this secretarial job thinking it was a temporary thing.
(I hate paperwork.)
It was for an art program, which I would teach in case the instructor wasn’t available.
(I didn’t want to work as an artist, teaching or otherwise)
I had to be good with children.
(I didn’t want to work with children; too loud, too… childish)
And it was a part-time offer with no benefits and no pay raises.
(I was convinced I deserved more than a meager job at a nonprofit)
It was no wonder, then, that I ended up falling head over heels in love with it; in that mad, dangerous, intense way you fall in love with things you’re not supposed to.
And like the best love stories, this one ended tragically, beautifully. Almost poetically.
A letter, signed in neat, small letters by the head of HR.
(‘it’s not you, it’s me,’ the letter seemed to say. ‘We just drifted apart.’
‘Bullshit,’ I thought.)
And, in the midst of my world collapsing under my feet, I did what I do best:
I went into the city, trying to find answers, searching for something, anything, I could hold on to.
I almost never get to visit St. Petersburg. I used to be there all the time, before. I almost forgot what it looked like and I got lost a couple of times. I vowed not to take for granted my own hometown again.
The murals are new, and fascinating, even if they are half hidden by parked cars and corner pharmacies.
The sky is what I remember most vividly. I was driving into town just as the sun was setting and my eyes would slide over the buildings to focus on the purples and golds and pinks above them. I took pictures because I wanted those colors to last.
I didn’t see many people outside, walking like I was. Two college kids going home after a long day, some people walking their dogs. I saw some families, too, when I drove further away from downtown St. Pete. Little kids playing by the sea with their parents watching, older boys kicking a soccer ball. Two older ladies walking on their street, uncaring of the fact that they were blocking my way.
It was quiet, this little, idyllic suburb. I realized I didn’t want to start a family just yet, which is an odd thought to have in the wake of losing your job.
I don’t think I found what I was looking for.
(Here’s the thing: I am not sure what I’m looking for.)