Seven years ago my parents dropped me off on Shady Brook Lane, in the 75206, told me to call them (but not to ask for money) and drove away.
As they drove away, I didn't even stop to reflect on the fact that I was jobless and had a car with some sort of fluid leaking out of it. It was leaking enough to cause my father to show me how to open the hood and refill it when necessary. Like, what a way to roll into adulthood-- leaking fluid.
I had a 6-month lease, which meant I had 6 months to "make it" in Dallas. I didn't really have a plan or a single goal, other than to get my father off my back and get off his payroll. My other goal was pretty simple: to move back to Arkansas as soon as possible.
Before long, "as soon as possible" turned into 7 years.
"As soon as possible" turned into a great job, great friends and a great church home, that I just couldn't leave.
But, then, "as soon as possible" turned into a nephew 400 miles away, another nephew on the way, a tinge of career burnout and the longing in my heart to fulfill my original goal of moving back to Arkansas.
This goodbye feels different than the goodbye to my childhood home and my college town. Where, those goodbyes were difficult, they were expected. You're supposed to leave home and you're supposed to leave college. There are rules and grieving periods for those goodbyes, so how do you say goodbye in this situation?
Is it even an actual goodbye?
I can come back here, as there's no end period for adulthood (aside from death). I can't go back to high school or my freshman dorm (I mean, I can go back to my freshman dorm, but I'm not ready to be "that lady" yet). This goodbye isn't expected and there's no rulebook.
So, rulebook or not, here's my attempt at goodbye to this strange, strange place.
You are weird. And not in the good way.
But, you are good. In a weird way.
I love you, in spite of our differences. You have taught me about things I never knew existed before moving here, mainly like, designer labels and really good food, but also about community and loving others. I've experienced the depths of darkness in this town and the highest forms of friendship. I built a life here. A good one.
Dallas, I'm not mad at you, it's just time to go.
I'll always have a special place for you in my heart. I'll tell others I grew up here and I'll come visit often.
PLZ don't write.
I love you, I hate you, I LOVE you.
I'm leaving Dallas a completely different human being than how I arrived. I'm mostly better and definitely have more opinions on where one should and shouldn't buy produce.
I think I accomplished most of my goals.
And if anything, I have a car that (at this time) is NOT leaking much of anything. So, all in all, let's consider this phase of life a win.