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Elizabeth vs. The Ice

I had to scrape ice from my car this morning. Which isn't a big thing, I know. At least not in Cleveland, where ice forms on cars until early June. But I'm not in Cleveland anymore.

I moved in August 2006 and was so scared to write because I'm not sure how to say that I left Cleveland. Other than just coming out and saying: I left Cleveland. It's not because of the economy. It's not because I couldn't find a job. It's not because of anything about Cleveland really. I love Cleveland, I love the boroughs and the shops and the culture.

Miss Melody took me out for my last hurrah on a day in August. We spent time riding around so I can soak up just one more memory of how everything looked, how it felt. We ventured to Little Italy, which could have meant certain death, since there is a price on my head there. But so is my favorite restaurant, Mama Santa's.

So I braved traveling to ex-boyfriend territory where his friends wait patiently for the day I unfortunately stumble in and they can attack. But of course, nothing happened. The pizza was good.

It was as if the town knew this was my last day and let me be in peace. Either that or his friends were just too high to stand. Which is the most likely.

And that's something to consider too. The bad memories with the good. It might seem that I was running away. Away from the job where secretaries believed God lives in Tahiti or Fiji or some other tropical island.

Away from a family whose constant obsession with my love life almost brought me together with the man of their own choosing, one with hands like a priest. A very important trait to have, apparently. Away from the ex Jamie that claimed he was my fiancé and told me to act as such, even though I was too scared of him to tell him I wasn't ready.

But I look at my leaving as something else. A running toward something, not away from whatever. I was running toward a new day. A new chance. A new everything. I was running towards John, with all of my might.

He got a job in Louisiana. 20 hours and 1300 miles south. Deep South. Steel Magnolia's south. But I could not picture my life without him, though I know I am the butt of jokes from Jamie friends. And sure that bothers me, greatly actually. But my true friends know that I wasn't running away. They knew that I was running toward something wonderful.

And it took 4 months and 15 days when my family came around and agreed. My mom even stopped crying. Well until Christmas Eve dinner. Then the water works started again; and that mystical pain in her leg.

But I really like it here in Baton Rouge Louisiana, despite what my dad may think. It's a different people, a culture that uses words like "buggy" and "fixin'." So friendly that I reached for my pepper spray the first few times someone stopped to talk to me on my jog.

Because being from a big metropolitan and cold city, people just don't have the time to stop and talk. It's the weather. It really is. Cleveland is bristling. Baton Rouge is not. At least not normally, since this story started with me scraping ice from my car. But it still remains; the people are warmer in Baton Rouge.

And yes, I know I write for a Cleveland website. I'm not trying to insult the place that is my home. The place that will always be my home.

It's just that cities are fast, too fast. And now that I have a taste of the southern, I now see how quick people really are, too hurried to stop, too hurried talk, too hurried to look up from their shoes.

But I will be back to Cleveland in a few years, I know that. Back to enable the neuroticism of my family by staying with in the preset living arrangements set by my mother where we are not allowed to move more than 45 minutes away. It's her leg, you see.

Back to the ice and the cold, back to scraping my car in the winter. Back to the boroughs and the pizza. Back to brave the east side bars and dodge the sight of Jamie.

But I really like it here in Louisiana. I really really do. Well, not driving in it. But that's another story.


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