This is Part 2 of a four-part series. Read the first letter here.
A little over three years ago, Rania and I went to Marfa over a long weekend to celebrate her birthday.
On the way back from Marfa was when Rania first told me it was her dream to quit science and move into fashion. Now, she is just a few weeks away from leaving the field she’s been in for nearly 20 years to focus on the next chapter of her life. With it comes a move to more affordable housing (pursuing your passion comes at a cost, of course), meaning I have been sifting through old items as I pack and reminiscing on how far I’ve come in these last 3 years, myself.
While in Marfa, we met a guy named Carl who was getting his master’s through UNT and spending the year teaching middle school English in the small West Texas town. We became pen pals for a few short months, and I vaguely remember where I was at in my life when I was writing him: unhappy with my job, unsure of what I wanted to do with my life, and still sour over past events that were completely out of my control. I don’t exactly remember what I wrote to him, but I’ve enjoyed re-reading the letters he’s sent to me (if only because of his Salinger-esque prose):
It sounds and smells like you are in the midst of a life crisis. You must act on this swiftly by waiting the whole thing out. In a number of years you will find that the problem has resolved itself. My uncle gave me the same advice many years ago when I was trying to divine my purpose in this world. It would help if I didn’t remember what I studied in college.
Yesterday was community day at Chinati. I had five dark beers while I ate barbecue with an old timer from the saloon. It worked out great because we faced the snaking line for barbecue, half the town set in profile, each in describable clothing. Under cover of loud mariachi music I had him tell me names of all the people I’ve met and forgotten. Turns out I forgot the name of that printer who uses rare German rocks.
There was a friend of old timer, shaggy hair looked like a wig and a severe hitch in his get-along. Definitely neurological, every limb rigid with its misinformed orders.
This guy strives ceaselessly to get around. Old-timer guy told me that guy was in a bar fight and the opponent pulled out a gun and shot him in the head. They caught the guy, but now here’s this guy who had a wife and two kids, now he lives along and gets around on a tricycle. Now that’s the irreversible bullshit of life.
In other news, I am watching junior high girls play volleyball. I look up from this letter every time a ball zings by my head to lift my pen and say, “Point,” to whoever is looking at me. They’re not even keeping score.