Goodbye Maryland

Ten years ago today, I moved from New Jersey to Maryland.
A few days ago, I walked out of my house in Maryland for the last time.
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.

It’s strange to reflect on this move. I haven’t really lived in my house in Maryland in a long time. When I left home for college, I only lived in that house in Maryland for weeks or months at a time between semesters. I lived back home for a year after graduating before getting my own apartment, but even then it didn’t feel like my home anymore.

Did I ever let myself think of that Maryland house as home? I really fought it. When my parents told me in high school that we’d be leaving the Garden State, I was devastated. I had finally started feeling comfortable with myself socially, was making good friends, and was visualizing a future with those friends. The first time I saw my house was weeks after the rest of my family had seen it — because I was studying, typical — and I was not particularly comforted pulling up the driveway and seeing drought-induced yellowed grasses and shrubbery. Everything was dying. It was hard not to interpret the poetic meaning of that.

One of my college roommates who I attended high school with recalls seeing me on my first day at my new school. She was intimidated of me, both because I seemed very close to another girl (the first friend I made when I moved to Maryland who I had met at new student orientation; the three of us wound up living together in college) and because I just… looked… so scary. I don’t remember consciously trying to ward away friendly people on my first day, but I do remember feeling so much anger and sadness. I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to make friends with anyone at my new school, I had my old friends!
I’ve never  been good at saying goodbye.

Despite my best efforts to be curmudgeonly and not set roots down in Maryland, the people are aggressively kind and warm. My friends were generous with their friendship, even when I was not receptive to it, and I remain so grateful to them for it. I didn’t think I had much of an affinity for Ellicott City, but the recent flood reminded me that I do.

I always thought of my time in Maryland as very temporary, that it would be a small blip when my life flashed before my eyes. And yet, the longest I attended any single school was in Maryland. (The 4 years I spent in college.) And the longest I lived in any single dwelling was in that house, for 10 years.

The move still hasn’t really sunk in yet. My parents told me they were planning on moving to an empty nest house last year, so my brother and I have had all of our belongings at their house packed into boxes since last July. So mentally, I feel like I’m still in this limbo of thinking of that house as my home in Maryland.

It’s not anymore.

I went through a lot in that house. Sometimes, it’s hard to believe what memories took place in that house because I still have a hard time believing I spent so many years in that house. Regardless, I won’t spend any more time in that house. When I go home this weekend to help finish with unpacking, I won’t be going home to that house. It’s funny because I hated moving to that house so much. I really did. I didn’t want to like it. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to ever think of that house as my home.

But as I drove away on Sunday for the last time, I realized I was crying.
I’ve never been good at saying goodbye.

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