After a few hours of sleep, L came in to wake up J and I—J specifically wanted to go to the local roller derby league’s practice, and L is a ref for them. It was time to get up and go.

It was really great to see L and her daughter—her daughter was less than 2 when we started dating, so to see her now, with a personality of her own now that she’s a tween… it’s really cool. We had a good time together.

Practice was good to attend—it was at the old hockey arena in Calumet, Michigan. I like going to Calumet, a town that is both lovingly preserved and falling down at the same time. It’s always felt like home, and it felt really good to be back in the positivity and decay.

J also acquitted herself quite well skating with them. She’s very good.

We opted to go up north to Copper Harbor afterwards, a place where I lived off an on while working up there during the summers. Along the way, we stopped in Eagle River, getting to see some of the falls which were racing like I’ve rarely seen. It was a cool, damp day, and as we were on the beach there in town, a front literally rolled through. As in you could see the cigar-roll clouds churning at us at high speed from the lake. L and I got in the car, while her daughter and J missed what we were fleeing from. They got a bit wet.

Next stop was Eagle Harbor, ten miles further up. Eagle Harbor is like the place you go to make a home, compared to Copper Harbor, which is more of a tourist site. We were just going to roll through—we didn’t need to eat, and the reason I used to be there, aside from in a kayak, was to eat at the Eagle Harbor Inn—but then spotted that the agate shop was open. J loves rocks and had a ball in there.

Finally, we went the last ten miles to Copper Harbor. This was kind of bittersweet: I saw a lot of people I know, but they’ve moved on with life and so have I. I know I also look a bit different now that I’m at least transitioning in a clothing and cosmetics sense—medically to come soon. I could see that some people wanted to ask but couldn’t.

It was also a bit jarring that I ran into some friends I hadn’t seen in years. I guess I hadn’t kept up well—they didn’t know I was divorced nor that I had moved to Nevada. It’s what I get, I guess, for being more of an analog friend than a digital one.

The next day was a hard one: it meant being back at my old house. Being with my ex was strange—she didn’t seem terribly happy, something that surprised me. In the midst of her bipolar episodes, she usually still found the ability to be up. That wasn’t the case here. She was also notably bigger and seemed to have tremors. I’m worried about her.

I also saw my kitty, Harry, which was bittersweet. Harry needs a new home, both him and his siblings. They aren’t actual siblings, mind you, but they’ve lived together for so long, they’re basically related. Harry is 15 these days, and Toby is around 18. My ex can’t take them and neither can I, though they still live at the house. They are very much indoor cats. The biggest wish I have right now is to find out that they have a new place to live, a new forever home, one where they won’t be allowed to wander outside and will be able to snuggle and get pets. That’s literally all I want.

I got basically the last of my things out of the house, then the four of us—myself, J, my ex, and her boyfriend—went out to eat. That felt strained as well, though he was gracious as always.

The rest of Michigan felt like a blur. There were only two other days, mind you, and L had to work both of them, so I didn’t get to see her much. I do still love her, and I still want her to be happy. I’m not sure her current guy is exactly the one, though. *sigh*

I think, more than anything, I was ready to go on the day we left. Not that I was sick of the place, but that it really was time for me to move on. My home wasn’t there anymore. My stuff wasn’t there. It all fit in the car (somehow). As we drove down US-41 towards Green Bay/Appleton, I knew my home was now in the West.