Jennifer A. Chin (cswallow) wrote,
Jennifer A. Chin

A Passenger on the Move

I slept and awoke with a sensation of doom hanging over me, and no matter the clear beauty of the day nor the small town charm of the place I have landed can brush the feeling away. And so I sit and pray that no disaster will fall upon the people I love. I wait for time to bring me back to stillness.

Always I do my best thinking while on the move. Today, it is a bus that carries me past wooded green lawns and tall shingled rectangles that scatter the rolling hills west of the Hudson. I love to watch the land passing; buses have always taken me toward adventures. The movement helps me to write, as does a solid nudge from a friend (thank you, Brandon).

These days, I think often of a moment described in Annie Dillard's "Pilgrim at Tinker Creek" - the book that still continues to shape my mind in ways I am still learning to comprehend. She speaks of standing near the creek and watching the water flow to her and away from her, like time that she cannot hold. How it is in that very second, is also how it will never be again.

The change that I foretold as spring's first tendrils were barely budding has come to pass. I am fully-employed now, and in a role that I never would have imagined for myself, and yet is already defining me. As the director of product at Detectica, I work to keep the team in communication with our client, make sure everyone is productive, happy, and that we are moving toward the company's long-term goals. It is perfect for my skills; I love my team, I feel we are building something real and important together.

It has given me back a piece of myself, though in changing jobs, I also lost something I cannot reconcile - and I cannot now find the strand I was following when I went back to graduate school. Although I continue to volunteer for APW, I feel I may never collect the pieces from the heartbreak of leaving. Working with Laly changed me; my time with her and APW gave me a core of inner strength that I will carry with me to my end. But with my ongoing injury and the pressures of NYC living, I needed something full-time. I had to say goodbye also to BuzzWord and to David Hudson, who were both amazing employers that encouraged me and taught me to be a better person. The past two years taught me to go it alone, to work truly independently; I am endlessly grateful for the chances that they took on me, and for all their energy and love.

What was most painful was leaving after we had invested so much in each other. When I worked for a big company (Google), I accepted that people would always be coming and going. My interactions with coworkers were transitory, passing like seasons. But in a small company, I felt integral. Work on a project was my work only, in a way that became entwined with my identity, and with my relationship to other people on the team.

Since I last wrote, myself and C have started taking lessons with new coaches - a husband and wife team. We feel the freshness of their approach, they understand what we need, and our dancing is the best it has ever been. We have settled into our patterns now, our fights seem based purely on lack of sleep/grouchiness rather than any disagreements. I feel we understand each other better and better every week. This is why so many people say that it takes two years for a dance partnership to become truly productive. I see no limit to our improvement, and so I keep on.

As for the foot. Well. It has continued to bother me - more when I dance, less when I take days off. On Friday, I found myself breathing to the accompaniment of a pounding MRI. They put headphones on me. The operator played KC and JoJo to calm me. They gave me a little rubber ball like what is on the end of the blood pressure cuffs: just squeeze it if you need to get out, they said. But I couldn't really hear the music over the machine. For forty minutes I fought panic, thinking constantly to myself "just relax and hold still" while staring at the ceiling tiles, the lights. The doctor said that if my fracture truly never healed, I will be sitting out for two more months. If it is tendonitis, I can keep dancing. But I think I already know what the verdict will be, and feel I am already preparing myself for the sadness that always comes when I am away from dance.

Midday sunshine brightens the landscape. The ridges are higher here, sloped like the backs of giant lizards, bristling with forest. I see a flock of four geese, squonking their way south. Is fall already beginning her move? My mom texts me to tell me my grandfather is weakening, and I make plans to go home to visit. A new roommate moves in to the apartment. My niece Zoe has learned to stand on her own. I do not take stock of where I am, I am not the driver. The bus rumbles along.
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