I woke completely confused, an hour before the alarm this morning. Although I’m already a week into my new job, I startled from my sleep unsure of what day my new employers were expecting me to start working.

This came after two busy days in Rhode Island helping Bob get the house closer to ready for sale, bookended by two three-and-a-half-hour train rides (which explain why we didn’t visit New York as often as we had intended when we moved to Providence), plus the added hour subways between Penn Station and Bed-Sty.

I was discombobulated much of the weekend in Providence. As I was falling asleep on Saturday night, back in my own bed with Bob and our dog Marcello by my side, I had been scrolling through Manhattan apartment listings on my phone. For a few seconds I wondered if I could make an open house or two before I met my train the next day. I had to remind myself that I was in Providence currently, and wouldn’t be back in New York until after my train.

Right now, my body only knows I am at home with Bob, not at home in a stranger’s spare bedroom in Brooklyn, and confused about all other logistics. I have clarity for the nine hours that I am at the office, clarity about doing a new job that I’m already enjoying, but that clarity dissipates as I step out into my strange new surroundings in Clinton Hill and Bed-Sty—familiar for the grit and caginess and crumbling sidewalks that I know how to navigate, but unfamiliar to the part of me that expects the City streets and Village haunts that I called home before we moved to Rhode Island.

In my last few hours of the weekend in Providence, rushing to finish a few more tasks on the house, I sensed greater clarity from both Bob and Marcello than either had shown all weekend. I think for Bob it was that clarity one feels when several overwhelming projects are ticked off the list as completed, and the longing for the downtime together that project lists and distance steal from us.

For Marcello, it was clarity of the beloved routine that has been disrupted. He was suddenly shadowing me as he had during the previous months that I had been home with him nearly twenty-four/seven. As I went from room to room, picking up, cleaning up, and repacking my belongings, he was there watching my every move, tapping my heel with his nose to let me know he was following—a precious spot of clarity for him before I would disappear for another uncertain stretch of time.

Back in Brooklyn last night, I talked with Bob on the phone for an hour, both of us saying more than we had said all weekend, sharing reflections we had both had in the hours that had passed since he left me at the train station. A spot of clarity before I went off to the discombobulating sleep that woke me confused this morning.


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