Fenway, a Love Letter

When I was younger, before I lived in Boston, the neighborhood I would visit the most was Fenway (technically Fenway/Kenmore). It’s a big neighborhood, cradled by the Charles River and the city of Brookline. It’s where the Museum of Fine Arts is as well as, yeah, Fenway Park.

Now I get to live there, on a quiet tree lined street right next to the best Boston has to offer.

Last week I was getting off the T on my way back from work with the plans on getting food and heading back to my dorm. It was early enough in the year that I didn’t have much homework, so my nighttime plans consisted mostly of showering and Netflix.

Instead, I went to a Red Sox game.

I walked up to the Ace Ticket stand set up in front of their office in Kenmore Square, mostly just curious to sniff something out. A few says prior I’d tried to get cheap student tickets to no avail. With only a dozen or so home games left, I was pressing my luck.

I put my name in to win tickets to Big Papi’s last home game (because Big Papi) and asked the girl working how much tickets to the night’s game were, mostly out of curiosity. She said $30 and I figured, yeah, I could swing that.

I proceed to walk home, replace my backpack with my Sox cap, and returned to the park in around ten minutes. I was flying solo.

Now, if you’re not from Boston or New England, you might not know that Red Sox home games are something of a religious experience. Or maybe you do. One of the most tangible moments of the night

To me, the park is perfect. I don’t care that it’s small, old, and kind of wonky. On game day it seems like the whole city shows up to the game, if not to go in then just hang around.

I love baseball. I remember my parents watching it, first, because my mom is a huge fan. My dad had this blanket he’d put over his head when things got really tense. I’m pretty sure my mom considers beating the Yankees in 2004 one of the best things to ever happen to her.

That night I sat in the bleacher seats, which is probably the most fun place to sit anyways. Sure, not the best for views but really not that bad. I sat next to a couple perfect strangers and together we heckled the Orioles fans sitting a few rows down.

“Fuck you’s” flew. It was great.

One of the most tangible moments of the night was watching a visiting Brit cry during the traditional singing of “Sweet Caroline”

That’s magic right there.


The Brand New Place

I live here, now, in this tiny room I share with another person. Here in this brownstone on a tree-lined street, tight-roping between Boston and Brookline. I live here on the third floor of this old and narrow place, stocked only with a mini-fridge and a microwave.

I live here and not just in the “I sleep here” way. Quite literally, this is my address, too shaky to be called permanent but where I reside. The school thinks I live with my mother, but the truth is I haven’t lived with her since I was twelve. Over the past few months what I thought of as home dissolved between my fingers. I’ve come to reside only within myself. Home is now a concept I can fold up and put in my suitcase.

There is really only one event leading up to this: in June, my dad lost his job. It happens to a lot of people, but I never once considered the possibility it would happen to me, to my family. I figured being a teacher, not a factory worker, had pretty good job security. But the district he worked in folded social studies— his lifelong career— into language arts and that was that.

So instigated the Move. We— my dad and I— just couldn’t afford to remain in the house I grew up in. And although he’s a great teacher, it’s very difficult for a person in their 50s to get a competitive teaching job when going up against cheap recent graduates. He’s always been a teacher to me, and now that he’s not, it creates a strange feeling that sits in the pit of my stomach.

We cleared out all of our things. We painted and sanded the evidence of out long tenure there away. Reformed it into something someone else could live in and create memories in. Realistically I knew that my home would not always be there for me, but it still feels as though the rug has been torn out from under me.

We as a society romanticize the idea of home. From Dorothy to My Antonia. Unconsciously, throughout my less-than stable life, I grasped onto this ideal. Not to mention that I already have trouble processing sudden, expectation shifting change.

On one level, it’s silly. I have a great school to go to, a job to do, and a family that loves me. Plenty of people have it worse. It doesn’t make it an easier pill to swallow.

Is it 10:30 on Monday? Yes, absolutely. But I got it done in time. Cheers!