Hide Away

by Jane Moneypenny

God, it feels good to be back here. After weeks of nervous anticipation, excitement and fear, I arrived back in STL and felt like I never left. Although I was running on no sleep from 9am Friday, I managed to forge ahead until 3am this morning.

It’s a strange mixture of “everything’s changed and yet everything’s still the same” feeling. It’s been so therapeutic seeing everyone again. Instant calmness, peace, comfort, familiarity washed over me at dinner as we attempted to sit 9 to a corner booth, even though the ENTIRETY of the restaurant was empty. Elbow to elbow, sharing food and laughing like I had never left. My heart felt FULL.

It was just so…good. I felt myself almost crying numerous times through the night and I can’t even explain why. Not because I was unhappy or miserable or angry or even sad, but just a feeling of “oh wow, I MISSED y’all SO much.” Because these people? They get me. Although they were only in my lives for my last year in St. Louis, they were the ones that really unknowingly tore me out of the depressing hole I was in.

When we go out, it’s not fake or dressed up or over-the-top. We go to funny unique little hole-in-the walls like Hide Away where 70-year olds dance and drink and it’s genuine and I LOVE it. We sat in this weird little place with red walls and half-naked Native American women paintings and watched them sit on stools with their perfectly coiled hair swaying to the music. Music, which by the way, is provided by an old man with a little white mustache playing a keyboard with sound effects and singing classics and standards. This is peace, I think. The comfort of being around people that don’t push me to party harder because I’m tired or run 5 miles because it’s shocking to them that I don’t. It leaves an ache in my chest and I wonder if I’ll ever find those kind of friendships in Austin.

I’ve been incredibly lucky in my life with the people I meet. I know that each group serves its different purpose and meaning in my life and they aren’t replacements for each other. But I just hope that I come across the same feeling of comfort and home again.