“Living well is the best revenge.” We have all heard this saying, repeated it, either as a mantra of letting go or a way of focusing our hurt and anger.
For Sasha, “living well” meant finding a place to live on or near Pine Street, one that she could afford on a coffee-shop worker’s wages, and yet feel respectable in. She sought this unicorn during the back-to-college rush that threatened to fill every apartment in town with a student (or two or three or four) whose rent would be paid by helicopter parents. Sasha spent more nights in her sleeping bag on Kassandra’s inflatable mattress than intended. Her friend was kind and gave her plenty of space to live her life; but the discomfort Sasha felt wasn’t about sharing a bathroom with Kassandra.
Sasha’s discomfort grew from the knot of pain in her belly, the one that was fed and watered by every perceived slight or rejection, the one that had blossomed when David turned away from her.
Every once in a while, as she walked from one already-rented apartment to another too-gross-for-words basement flat, Sasha turned her face to the early autumn sun and let the knot in her belly relax, just for a moment. She let the warmth wash through her, and caught a glimpse of a life driven by pleasure rather than pain.
In these moments, she often remembered those early days with Kassandra, vacationing at the lake, lounging on beach towels and comparing their flourishing tans.
If only she’d realized then how simple her life was: sun, water, family, a dear friend. Instead of constantly seeking something new, different, distracting.
In these moments, Sasha also recognized the deep difference that drove her need for distraction. Certainly, she knew the world now was far more accepting of all variations of sexuality. Certainly, she knew that her particular sexual self could even be considered a new kind of cool.
And yet, Sasha had never talked with anyone about it. Her full self had never been allowed out in company.
Like so many of the others who had found their way to Pine Street, Sasha was seeking more than a change in venue. She beat the pavement hunting more than a suitable adult apartment.
Sasha, like all of us, needed a place to belong. Living well meant more than revenge. It meant finding home.