It’s been a very long 364 day journey to get here. The many battles have tested my determination, my faith, and my will to live in ways I never could have imagined. My legs and heart are tired from the tribulations but my mind, I feel, has grown stronger, sharper but at such a huge cost. Still, I carry forward, undeterred by the suffering and heartbreak I’ve seen, refusing to entertain thoughts of failure. The journey forced on me must be completed.
Slowly, I creep into the doorway and down the stairs. Each foot I grind into the stone to break the gooey hold of the slick moss that taunts me to fail. Cob webs pull at my hair and face while no-see-ums nibble at my flesh. The darkness eats away the light from my barely-lit torch and all I see is down, down, down. And spider webs.
Worn and badly in need of repair, my armor is noisy and stiff. I can’t remember what it looked like new. The fresh chinks in my armor, memoirs of three long years of battles, shine from the flame of the torch and conjure hundreds of little sprites that dance on the walls of the dungeon and chase me down the stairs.
At the end of the stairs a large door blocks my path. With pounding heart, I unsheathe my sword. It, too, has seen shinier days but it’s my only weapon and despite the abuse it’s both given and received, it still cuts quickly to the bone when whipped around. While I’m definitely not ready for the fight, I’m going to pick one anyway. Let’s roll.
I shove the door open with all my force. Cold, dry, life-less air blows me back and the overwhelming stench of plastic and money disgusts me. Undeterred, I shout into the darkness “I’m here to disconnect the phone of Maggie Weaver!” A voice, shrill and thick with an Indian accent cries back “Hello, thank you for calling AT&T. My name is Shakrisha Nimbutu. I am happy to be helping you with that today.”
And so the battle begins.
Melodrama aside, it was a quite difficult phone call to make. Despite overcoming the emotional challenge, technical challenges abound. As of tonight, her phone is still not turned off. The process is complicated, apparently. I had to talk to two representatives, both of which wanted to speak with Maggie. Both of which were polite and very respectful when I told them they could not (and why.) See, back when we got the phones, right around the time I started the Acton MBA program, Maggie claimed responsibility and got our phones (meaning, she really, really wanted an iPhone.) Thus, they were both in her name. To cancel hers meant to cancel mine, too. Boo on that. Therefore it became a two step process: 1) Transfer my phone number to me (in AT&T speak: “Wireless Transfer of Billing Responsibility”), and 2) Disconnect her service. I’ve completed Step 1 (with two fun-filled hours invested.) Step 2 comes tomorrow.
To AT&T’s (and Shakrisha’s) credit, they waived the Transfer of Billing Responsibility charge of $18.50. Oddly enough, it wasn’t because of WHY I was transferring billing responsibility, but (and you gotta love this) because I had spent so much time on the phone with customer service. Beautiful. Thank you, AT&T and Shakrisha for the $18.50 ‘gift.’
I’ve tried to make some forward progress every week lately. Some weeks have been more progress-rich than others, especially lately. But this particular step has been a biggie. It’s a really big dragon. There are just a few more that are really, really tough, most notably, the closet. All in due time but not insignificant.
For tomorrow, I’m still not sure what to do. There are a few upshot celebrations/tributes/thingies that friends have loosely organized. For me, where my head is right now, I think I’ll just pretty much live it out like just another Tuesday. Crap. But it just doesn’t feel right to do that. Maybe I’ll spend the day on the motorcycle. Crap. I don’t know. I suppose I’ll just see what happens as it happens. What’s ‘right’ is whatever I end up doing.
I do know this, though. Tomorrow is just one more (big) step in the process of saying goodbye. But damn. It’s hard to leave the leader behind.