I never really considered ‘how’ I worked. Particularly in an office. I figured, ‘oh, I input the info. I make phone calls. I update this. I update that. It’s procedure. It’s pretty basic. I’m pretty organized.’

Last week at the Goodman was ‘crossover week,’ the final week of my internship. Our office once crammed with 3 interns was suddenly busting at the seams with 6: 3 burnt out and crabby. 3 over-enthusiastic newbies.

And suddenly all my projects and sent emails and word docs were open to the public. I was having to explain why I did this, and why I did (or did not) do that. Why that decision sucked. Or worked. That one time that one thing happened. Or why I call this dude by a nickname and sign off with ‘xo’ and yet this other dude is “Mr.” signed “sincerely.”  I had to put words and step-by-step instructions to procedures I had done for over 20 weeks and by week 2 hadn’t thought much about.

You learn a lot about yourself doing that, I discovered. I realized, for example, that I spent a lot of time these past months designing cover pages or creating cute purple tables or making signs look nice with “Goodman Theatre” logos and High Tower font. “My mom is a scrapbooker…” I sheepishly tried to explain.

It’s refreshing, though, to realize that even in basic (albeit, occasionally mundane) tasks, your work is unique because it is you. That’s enough. The new casting intern is a sweetheart and will be fantastic. And her work will look different then mine. I left a unique stamp, however miniscule. A silly realization, perhaps, but a realization nonetheless.

And now the internship is done. Leaving more time for long walks and tea and game night with friends and overthinking what’s next. And writing. Yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I did some writing–for fun–with no real end goal in mind. I love writing memories, autobiographical (mostly)nonfiction, if you will. And if you’re interested, I’ll sign off with a peek:

This morning I realized something. A dream I guess.  I think I want to live by the ocean.

It was like suddenly my brain articulated what it knew all along, but was keeping in some weird crevasse, shoved under to-do’s and Salle Mae school loan statements and text messages. All of this delaying the dream’s maturity.  Or maybe just my heart knew, not my brain, and it took that amount of time for the dream to drip its way through my blood vessels and veins and through oxygen bubbles, through nerves and neurons, through my liver and my slow-digesting gut that has always given me problems–and what have you–slowly journeying all the way to my brain.

Sometimes when I look outside the window and there are swaying trees and patchy sunshine, I imagine that just over that apartment complex there, or that silo, or that monstrous skyscraper, there will be ocean. Endless blue ocean.

When I was 19 I went with some girl friends to the Gulf Shores of Alabama for spring break. It was February.  I’m not sure why February. Maybe because in the Midwest, February is about the time you really need a spring break, even if spring is many, many a month away (or never shows up at all). “Mental survival” it could be called, perhaps. Maybe it was my school trying to keep up student morale. Or deny reality.  But spring break was in February.

The four of us took turns driving the 15-hour trek. We left in the evening one night and ate pancakes an hour or two from the ocean the next morning.

When we made it to my friend’s-uncle’s-condo, we ventured to Wal-Mart to buy our food for the week. We bought avocadoes and made homemade guacamole for the first time in my life. We dipped our tortilla chips while standing over the counter in the kitchen. The condo was a sterile-colored sand-sprinkled home, complete with scratchy beach-themed bed sets and a shower curtain covered in Finding Nemos. 

At Wal-Mart, though, before we left, there was a little girl wearing a frilly skirt and light-up shoes in the produce section. She tagged along with her mom, letting the edge of the shopping cart gently yank her from bananas to onions.

“Mom, where are we going? I want to go home!” she whined in a thick southern drawl.

I was shocked.

Children spoke with a drawl! Children actually spoke with a southern accent.

And then I was shocked I actually had that thought.

Did I really just think that? 

(And did I really remember thinking that years ago?)

We spent our afternoons lying on the beach, pretending it was warmer than it was. Pale and lethargic from the Indiana winter, we convinced ourselves that if we backed away from the ice-cold water a healthy 100 meters, buried our toes deep into the sand, and unrolled our albino bodies, vertebrae by vertebrae, outstretching ourselves into the sun we’d missed so dearly–we would leave warm and tanned. Despite that it was 60 degrees.

We didn’t drink alcohol. We didn’t meet up with a sexy pod of young men on a yacht. We went skinny-dipping one night and squealed so loudly and took so many pictures our mom’s probably enjoyed scrapbooking the event later. We nicked a car on the way home and we all cried. 

I would look back on that as a carefree time, a time I would crave again and again. 

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