The Year of the Snake

by sarahmball

Part 1: the beginning

Life-changing. That is what this year has been for me. This was the year I found my art. Sure, I [irresponsibly] drove across the entire country with nothing but a tiny cat and a strong feeling that I needed to change something in my life. But what happened after I got into my car changed the course of everything.

I had just arrived in Baltimore, Maryland. My apartment was cute, and on the one street in the entire neighborhood that wasn’t boarded up or vandalized. I had taken a pretty awesome job, and thought I was starting a new, amazing chapter in my life. But everything seemed to be going wrong: My landlord was weird. They had been “cleaning” my apartment for days. I had no money to stay in hotels. It was cold. I didn’t know anyone. I was miserable, and, well, you get the point. After driving around in my sleek, but dirty, little Rav4 with all of my things, my cat, and not a penny to my name, I picked up my phone and dialed a number.

“Are you moving here,” a playful voice teased through the phone.

Becca was a girl I hardly knew, and I wasn’t sure that I knew her well enough to ask if I could live with her, but she initiated the conversation.

I was trying not to be dramatic, but I had been crying and didn’t want the slight quiver in my voice to betray me. I took my time, and finally said something nonchalant like, “Would that be cool with you?”

A girl I hardly knew, a struggling artist like myself, just invited me to live with her. I swung through the Wendy’s drive-thru, put my cat in the backseat, and made the 6 hour drive to Ohio. If I was going to be miserable, at least I could do it somewhere I had a friend.

It was pretty late by the time I finally made it to the little city of Medina, OH. I was passing farmhouses, fields, little corner stores, and was already feeling relief set in.

“Keep going a few more miles. Oh! And watch out for deer because they’ll totally charge your car. Make a right at Wadsworth Mannor, the sign is a little hidden so keep your eyes peeled. Go all the way to the end. Apartment 408.”