New Orleans, I write this with a gaping wound in the middle of my chest. You see, we have to leave you, and it breaks my heart. This heart is, quite literally, on the ground, smashed into miniscule bits.
New Orleans, I love you so much. So much so, that we arrived on your crescent shore merely with savings, and a prayer. And hope. And faith. And we tried, so very, very hard, to make it work out with you. We really did. Is it the economy? Perhaps. And also some ill luck. Try as I might, as many interviews as I have given, the jobs simply are not coming. Plus, despite my entreaties otherwise, to “lesser” means of income, I am deemed “overqualified,” I think, and thus still find myself standing Outside the Wall, knocking so passionately and furiously at your gate, to no avail. And J, poor, poor J, got himself into work that can only be defined as very nearly abusive. New Orleans, as much as we love you, we will not allow him to endure that.
New Orleans, we have just enough money left to get us back to Colorado. I am so sorry, but we have to use it for just that purpose.
New Orleans, that home in that house just off St. Charles cannot happen right now. It was southy and kooky and SO very you, but in hindsight it was also a little too small. We could have made it work, but you know, there’s THE RIGHT place for us, someday.
New Orleans, thank you for the 3-month adventure. For allowing us to explore and come to know you. For letting us learn your streets and your neighborhoods and your people, at least a little. For bringing us some friendships, and some acquaintances. For giving me that magical moment, every time the cathedral bells rang and the steamboat blew its top, at the very same time.
New Orleans, I have absolutely no regrets. Why? Because I love you, with the very depth of my being.
New Orleans, I rediscovered my soul here. These three months away from everything that had become familiar, to the point of monotony in many ways, allowed me to breathe, to self-explore, to reconnect with that which I am down at the deepest core. I know who I am, I know what I am, I know what I want to be, what I want to do, and, eventually, it will happen within your embrace.
New Orleans, I belong with you. But we tried, and now is not the right time. The time WILL come, though. My own family wishes to come to you, as well. Our safety net in Colorado (the return to CO in general makes me ill, literally – I’ve thrown up twice) is a lucky thing to have, a plan has been set, and we could be returning en masse just in time for fall, and Christmas, with a better chance of success.
New Orleans, this has not been wasted time. In lucid moments among the tears, I sit back and consider these past three months as the Recon Trip. Because we had the opportunity to learn your streets and neighborhoods and people, at least a little. From a distance now, while regrouping and replanning, I will have a better understanding of how things work, and of what I am looking for.
New Orleans, I have been crying for the past 24 hours, straight. My eyes can’t take anymore, but the tears still flow for you just as my sweat flowed when I went on my Garden District walkabout a week ago. A steady fountain, straight from my heart.
New Orleans, I don’t know what will happen next but I do so very much hate to leave you. I hate to leave the river breeze and the jazz from streetcorners and even the muggy heat that is settling in for the summer. I hate it. I HATE IT. But I love you.
New Orleans, I really do love you. SO very much. But we have to retreat, regroup, refigure.
New Orleans, we will be back. It could even be this year. Four or five months. Next year at latest, perhaps.
New Orleans, I am about to cut the unsteady ties that we made here and hope I can stop crying long enough to make the necessary phone calls.
But New Orleans, I will see you again. And in the grand scheme of things? Very, very soon.
Oh, my New Orleans.