Anew–Amy Lachenmeier


All Anna wanted to do was wish Joel a happy birthday.  An overnight visit from him was the last thing on her mind, and she certainly didn’t want him to stay to at her apartment.  So much had happened since they last saw each other, such a transformation in her own life, that a birthday greeting seemed appropriate to thank him for being the catalyst for such a positive change.

Prior to Anna meeting Joel, she was constantly reliving the patterns of rejection from her parents that crept into every relationship she had.  People were always either unwilling, or unavailable to be there for her.  But after the ups and downs with Joel, she got the help she needed to end the lifelong cycle of people pleasing and emptiness.

When he mentioned he’d like to see where she moved to, Anna didn’t answer right away.  She had to think about it.

She could lie and say she was working, don’t come visit.  But no, she was proud of who she was, where she lived, and what she was doing.  Her self-esteem was higher, and she was able to set boundaries and trust herself.

Was it wise to see him again?  Had he become forgiving, kind, more honest?  Would she be able to walk down the street after they walked down the street together without thinking of him?  Would she be able to walk past the inn he stayed at, maybe her staying there with him, after he left without thinking of him?  She asked herself those questions before affirming it was OK for him to come visit.  It didn’t matter if he had changed, she had.

And now, he was on his way.

Anna heard a car pull into the parking lot.  She peered through the upstairs window.  There he was.  Her heart pounded.  Should she go down to greet him?  Wait, she told herself.  Let him knock, don’t force things, let it happen.  His footsteps came closer, then, a knock at the door.

“Good to see you,” said Joel.

“You too.  Come on in.”

They sat at the table and talked, then went for a walk on the beach.  Anna pointed out the things that she watched for on her daily beach walks; the way the sand shifted, how the driftwood moved, and the tides.  The sun was warm for late November, with a light wind.  It was pleasant, and felt comfortable catching up with an old friend.

After their walk, Joel wanted to check into his room, and asked Anna to come along.  It was nice.  It was romantic.  They had a drink on the balcony overlooking the ocean; then went out to dinner, and back to the inn.  The full moon was bright on the shimmering sea.

After breakfast, they were ready to say good-bye, when Joel said an off the cuff, rude comment towards her.  “I wouldn’t say that,” Anna said.

He didn’t reply.  They hugged, and he left.  An all too familiar feeling crept in on her.

Anna walked down the street, past the inn, to the beach and watched the waves.  She had stood up for herself.  It was a feeling she wasn’t used to, but it felt good.  Anna wasn’t obsessed over the situation, as she once would have been.  She cared about herself, was able to detach, and ready to move on to life’s next lesson.



Amy Lachenmeier moved to Manzanita with her cat from Portland Oregon in September of 2022, something she had wanted to do for a long, long time. She loves it here, and appreciates every day.