May 5, 2007: i’m falling in love with salem. and my life in salem. but she is just like that boy that you’re afraid to fall in love with. the one that you’re already in love with, really, but you don’t want to get attached to because you don’t want to be attached to anything. salem is just like that.

September 13, 2007: p.s. i have fallen in love with salem, and my life here, hard. and it’s a good thing.

a year later, and i’m still in love. i toyed with the idea of vermont, batted it back and forth like a kitten. courted the idea of other areas of the north shore, batted my eyelashes at saugus, somerville, swampscott and lynn, coyly.

but salem has claimed me as her own. for the first time in a long time i will satisfy my wanderlust with a 6-block move, a new neighborhood, a new view of the same harbor. providence, i will always love you, but i have to move on. massachusetts, thank you for finally giving me a home, you angry, sullen bitch, you.

life changes. layoffs, confusion, and a new job in an old field. i’m back in retail, trader joe’s this time instead of my beloved crate, for the moment. i’m becoming the woman i’ve wanted, a happy hippie in jeans, sneakers, hawaiian(ish) shirt and a smile. i try hard every day, but sleep comfortably in the knowledge that tomorrow i get to try again. i hope for a chance to stay here, combine my art and aesthetics with the joy of people and human contact that i’ve neglected. it might not be forever, but here, now, it’s good.

to finance my career change, more change. a roommate with red hair and freckles and a warm heart. she is a good person, and she brings bunnies. bunnies! we are awaiting final word on our new home. it is old and comfortable, fireplaces and arches and small-paned windows. there is a winter view of that harbor from a tiny balcony, when the leaves fall. we will move into a ready-made commune; trader joe’s for both of us, and our next-door neighbor (the former tenant), plus other friends abundant in the blocks around. my current landlord has been a saint and savior, understanding of the broken lease, understanding of my leave of absence from corporate America. papers will be signed soon, and our uhaul orange will match Halloween town just as everything changes.

the boys are all gone, for the moment, and i’m glad. i flirt joyfully and enjoy the freedom. an old dear friend emailed from the blue the other day, and i wished for a date-movie plot for just the briefest moment. then i had a girlfriend-movie moment, swinging to salsa with a gaggle of wonderful women in a tiny pub on a wednesday summer night, and remembered that i like my plot just fine.