It was my last night at work and I didn’t get home until 6 a.m. For the first time in years, I saw the sun rise. As I drove up the curving mountainous highway, only a few of us other late nighters keeping company on the long road home, I watched the star-studded sky fade into a pale blue. And then, from the east, the pale blue blushed orange and red, the distant mountains hiding the awakening sun.
My eyes ached for sleep, my legs throbbed to rest, and I smelled of milk…or rather dried whipped cream. Indeed, it was a long night. And as I spend my last few days living in Arizona, I wonder vaguely who I will become, what will alter me, who will I meet, who will I befriend? And, though the mere thought of existing in a place where life starts all over again is thrilling, I can’t help but feel panicked. Because the people I know today cannot be replaced. And they are amazing human beings.
It’s not every day you look forward to going to work, but when your work includes a ton of fantastic people, it changes your perspective. That is, if you allow yourself to SEE the people and who they are.
Like I said, it was my last day and I ended up closing, which was great cause I needed it! I had a group of friends from work waiting for me at a bar. They came back to see how close I was to being done, and graciously surprised me with whipped cream to the face, which I shared by smearing back on their faces—though some escaped before I could get to them. We met up with some other buddies from work, some of which had already started drinking. Knowing I had a two hour drive to get back up to my parents’ place, I had to make sure I didn’t drink too much.
The boys bought us rounds and we laughed the night away, all work relations faded, all differences gone, acting like we’d known each other all our lives when we‘d only known each other for a short time. Being an observer type, I marveled at how distinctive we were and, yet, very much the same. All searching, all learning, needing, wanting, regretting, forgetting, beginning. Wanting different, but feeling the same.
We watched a friend serenade to us—and the bar—which then inspired them to provoke me into singing as well. I complained about not knowing anything with meaningful lyrics, whereas Hakim had been singing some seriously deep stuff. But, later, as I drove up I-17, watching the sunrise, a song I hadn’t thought about in years popped into my head and I couldn’t believe I didn’t think of it before. The first time I sang this song, I was in 6th grade and didn’t fully understand the meaning of what it was I was singing, though I thought maybe someday I would. I do now. So here it is:
A new life.
What I wouldn’t give to have a new life.
One thing I have learned as I go through life,
Nothing is for free along the way…
A new start.
That’s the thing I need to give me new heart.
Half a chance in life to find a new part,
Just a simple role that I can play…
A new hope.
Something to convince me to renew hope.
A new day.
Bright enough to help me find my way.
A new chance.
One that maybe has a touch…of romance.
Where can it be? The chance for me?
A new dream.
I have one I know that very few dream.
I would like to see that overdue dream,
Even though it never may come true.
A new love.
Though I know there’s no such thing as true love.
Even so, although I never knew love,
Still I feel this one dream is my due.
A new world.
This one thing I want to ask of you, World.
Once before it’s time to say adieu, World,
One sweet chance to prove the cynics wrong.
A new life.
More and more as sure as I go through life,
Just to play the game and to pursue life,
Just to share its pleasures and belong.
That’s what I’ve been here for all along.
Each days a brand…new….life.
I believe this song relates to all of us trying to find our little niches in this world. No matter how old or young you are, some of us never stop looking for that special…something.
This is what I see in the people I work with. This is what I see in the strangers that pass by me. This is what I see every day. The search for a new life.
That night, we finished by taking home a troubled friend who had had a little too much to drink. Then Erica and I walked nearly two miles back to our cars. Thank goodness it was cool out.
I know that I’ll never forget the people I’ve worked with. It’s not every day your work buddies become an important part of your life. I’ll remember the days we got along and the days we didn’t. But in the end, we all came together…with a little drink or two. 🙂
And as I drove the long two hour stretch back home, I passed Sunset Point and laughed. The sun was rising.