Night 13 before I leave California for Germany, perhaps forever. I suppose the packing is going OK. I'm trying not to stress about the particulars and concentrating more on the ways in which my life is in transition.

Last night I had dinner and a drink with an ex-girlfriend, my first love, who, while we only spent a month and a half together ten years ago, has played a main role in my life, sometimes in absentia, sometimes as the source of my pain, sometimes of my hope. I don't mean to get all melodramatic, but you need to know how important she is to me, even though I'm not in love with her any more, at least not in a way that makes me want to be with her.

So during the two beers, toward the end of the evening, it dawned on me that if I ever see her again it will be with buckets of new experience behind me. And this trip to Germany is the fulfillment of a dream I have had for years and tried to realize seven years ago... and failed utterly. This is my chance to make it right, play it right.

And most importantly, the woman I love is waiting for me in Berlin. I am rather afraid of my hope, afraid of my happiness in this miraculous new relationship. The woman I love now was in fact my second love, harking back to 1994, when I didn't believe I could love again, and was blindsided by intense feelings that both awakened my hope and ripped me open from stem to stern. That situation didn't go so well in 1994, but it changed me irrevocably.

So this trip, this move, is a huge transition for me. I smell freedom and happiness and it's terrifying. I need to leave all the bitterness behind, from loves #1 and #2 and my recently failed marriage. I'm trying not to put too much pressure on the events that are coming up, because it can scotch things.

At the end of it all, at the end of last night, I said to my first love what was in my heart, which was "Be well," a sort of goodbye, and walking away I felt a sense of awe. I feel that now. There's a lot of power in me yet. At last I can say to myself (and begin to believe), "Everything's going to be all right."