my colorado

(Deep, healing breath in…deep, healing breath out).


This morning, I woke up with a cold and asthma symptoms…took some medicine…and started on the morning chores–mentally setting a plan for my day and this week.

Basically…do my kitty stuff, eat some breakfast, and pack like a banshee.  No, really.

(I have till Friday to go through my entire bedroom and the bathroom plus the 1/2 bath and hall closet.  It’s going to be hard simply because my closet is a no man’s land, and that no man’s land contains every emotional landmine ever from old relationships and my parents.  I’m hellbent on purging, so some tough decisions will be made).

We’re in the home stretch.  Roomies will be here Friday and then more packing like a banshee will commence.  And then Sunday morning, I drive up solo to Never Summer, say goodbye to my Mama, and then drive out to Westwood and Fort Logan to say goodbye to my Daddy and my childhood.  Sunday night, we move out to a La Quinta Inn near Boulder and then, Friday morning, we drive to Durango, then Flagstaff, then Vegas, and finally home.  With three cats.  On a holiday weekend.

I told my roommate, I will likely ugly cry the entire way out of Colorado.  He questioned that.  8 hours?  (Really, Alma?).  And I assured him that it might go much longer.  But yes, it will be sobbing crying.  The kind that makes my face fall apart.

Because if you’ve known me in any capacity, in any part of my life, you know this about me: Colorado has been the love of my life–along with my parents and my kitties and a couple guys I used to know.  In the five years my roomie & I have lived together, he’s never seen me truly heartbroken.  I’ve only had two big loves–romantically–in my life…and losing them changed me in many ways.  Life does that.  Sometimes, it’s good.  Sometimes, it’s a learning process.  I’ve been in love and smitten–and seen those relationships fall apart, sure…but nothing that caused actual heartbreak.

When my heart breaks, I spend lots of time in dark rooms.  Sobbing.  Writing.  Sometimes, singing to myself.  Sometimes, talking to friends.  The last time, a great friend introduced me to Ted Talks and various self-help gurus.  Because he knows me and loves me.  I love hard, and when I let go–finally–of the things I actually love–it guts me…takes me a good long time to feel like myself again.  Even if what I need most is to lose that love–it’s hard on me.

Colorado, of course, will still be here to visit.  I’ll likely be back before Christmas–or by Easter, for sure.  But the me that comes back will be different.  Colorado is changing so rapidly–and not in good ways–a long, sad process that has left me heartbroken many times in the last five years.

Mostly, though, I’m leaving myself and all the people I’ve been…all the people I’ve lost…and wiping the slate clean.  I’ve been aching for transformation and new starts for so, so long.  So, all of it is good and exciting and full of joy.  But also completely full of nostalgia, sentimentality, and pouting.  Because why can’t it come with?


I changed my mind about breakfast and decided to treat myself to something just when the music started.  A live band.  A man on a saxophone on the corner.  I smiled, thinking, “Never change, Cheesman.”  And then more.  And I realized it was an event.  AIDS Walk.  I usually volunteer, but–this year–for obvious reasons–didn’t and totally forgot about it.  This meant road closures, so no special breakfast delivery for me.  I started making breakfast and walked out onto the balcony, dancing in my PJs.  I was not alone.  It seemed like everyone in my building was doing the same, cheering, singing, and dancing along to Paul Simon.  Soon, a crowd congregated on the empty street and people were legit dancing with one another.  It was one of those idyllic, beautiful moments of community that made me fall in love with Cheesman and made me adopt it as home in the years after I left Westwood.  This place where people supported each other and laughed and danced.  And loved.

I found myself bawling and laughing at the same time.  Incredibly happy to be part of it and sad to be leaving this place–that hadn’t changed as much as I thought.  It was as if my Denver decided to give me one last hug–to let me know it was okay to go.

I’m going to cry a lot between now and September.  So, if you see a freckly faced redhead falling apart in Cheesman–that’s probably me.  Feel free to give me a hug.  I probably need it.


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