The Road Ahead


I drove from Charlotte, North Carolina to Roanoke, Virginia on Wednesday night, and as the winter rain came down onto the road and onto my windshield, fogging up the glass and making me shiver in my coat and turn up the heat, I thought about the summer of 2012.


Rob had just finished his coursework at UVA and I was almost done with my master's thesis from Hollins, and we packed up our apartment in Charlottesville and went to the lake for the weekend. Then, with nothing really to do, we went down to Charlotte for a few days to visit his parents before making the trek back up, past Roanoke, this time to DC. It was the end of May and it was hot and muggy and the summer rain came down onto the road and onto my windshield, fogging up the glass.


Rob went to China that summer and I moved back into my parents' house, hell-bent on finishing my thesis. I remember that airport goodbye so well--Rob's bags, the skirt I was wearing, the flip flops on my feet and the feeling of uncertainty that crept through me as we kissed goodbye. This is it, I thought, the end of our planning so far. I didn't have a job yet and I wasn't even done with my graduate program, but when he came back from China, he'd be done and he'd be with me at the lake until he left and after that point, we'd be apart.

I can't remember the moment I first really knew that Rob and I were always going to be together--it's just something that sort of settled in naturally, creating a pocket of belonging and joy in my life that I never questioned.

So he went to China and I got a job in Roanoke and he came back and then he left for Northern Virginia, and it wasn't ever an issue. After years of being near and living together, being apart and living away was just the new thing that we did so that we didn't have to say goodbye.


As I drove north from Charlotte this week and the rain came down, the Cloudy Day Nostalgia that hit me felt different than I had expected it to. It was new. As though that road ahead of me was winding with possibility after possibility and one good thing after another.