Back when I first moved to Austin for school, oh those many years ago, I lived in a co-op on West Campus. It was "clothing optional." We had weekly meetings to discuss house business and once, the meeting broke up in tears and screams over whether or not the house should buy Cheerios. My second semester there I nabbed the best room in the house (Only because I got up early on the morning of the room draw - something my house mates didn't often do.), the room with the foil-walled closet where people liked to spend nights tripping on acid. Home, sweet home.
Among the many characters living in the house was a quiet, trench-coated girl with long braids who had a pet rat. A rat that she carried around with her. In her shirt. Everywhere. I don't think I heard her speak more than 10 words the whole time we lived in the same house. I called her Rat Girl. Rat Girl was only one of the people I was happy to say goodbye to that May I moved out. I moved into a cute one bedroom, and then a house with friends from high school, and then to New York.
I've been back in Austin for almost 5 years. And I see Rat Girl around town. I saw her today on the Congress Avenue Bridge sidewalk. She was perched on her bike looking down into the river. Sometimes I see the guy who used to wait on Mandy and I all the time at Magnolia. It always makes me smile to see my friend, Cyndi, on her bike in South Austin. This weekend we were having breakfast at my taco joint, where everyone knows me, my order, my husband, my family. A few friends showed up. Something happens in my heart when I see people I love, like or just know when I don't expect it. It's like a little burst of confetti.
This happens a lot here. It's one of the many things I love about living in this town.