At first the thought of returning back to the home front that you despised so greatly was an awful thought but at the coaxing of my best friend I reluctantly agreed and decided to let the trip speak for itself. With immense trepidation and a bag full of unhappy scenarios disguised as clothes I made my way to the airport for the liftoff back in time. Upon arrival, the joy of connecting with my lifeline friend took the edge away that I so greatly carried with me all those miles toward my hometown. I must admit that things appeared differently and the highway whisked us away from the airport to our home port destination. Traveling such a distance proved a bit tiring but my curiosity took a hold of me and began to spin the familiarities that are hidden deep in the cortex of your brain in the file marked "TOP SECRET". Suddenly the avenues and streets came up to greet me as if I had never left them in the first place. It was a little discerning but at the same time intriguing.
He had already scoped out our previous haunts and living quarters as well as the liquid libation lounges that catered to our tastes. It was like having your own personal driver who drove the time machine that took you back to the beginnings of your insecurities and dreams. While life had moved forward and buildings and skylines had risen the overall mind structures remained the same.
With every neighborhood visited there were ghosts of things past that jumped out to remind you of what was, only now the fear of being frightened by those past ghosts only left me feeling warm and sensitive. The houses where we once lived still stand and though they may appear to be a different color the vision that we held was the way we remembered it, only now other people were making their own ghosts of tomorrow.
The high school's we went to were the same and did not yield any harrowing memories but just reminded us of how quickly we wanted to be rid of textbooks and peer pressure.
We relived the craziness of the boredom that would overtake us daily and how we would plan our escape out of "Death Valley". There were not a lot of people left here that we knew and just a small amount of family that gave me the interest to reconnect if I would be welcomed by them to do so.
All around me the fears that I had come to make up in my mind were melting away and I beheld a new view of what was. The youthful distaste had somehow disappeared and was being replaced with a sweetness that maturity can give by life experiences. No one gets to understand that until they go back and deal with it their own way, as it is not easy to restructure your past ideas with the truths of today.
The connection to my roots is one that I have surreptitiously kept within only to spill out like venom when referencing some related incidence in the present. It has been an unrecognized burden to carry all these years. Now and only now do I realize that it was unnecessary to even hold on to the past distorted memories as they are not at all what they seemed to play out to be, or what I have chosen to use in my defense of something irritating. Incidents that seemed so huge before are now just faded memories that have no use anymore. Driving the streets of my past have recreated a different kind of curb appeal. I look at the scenery and search for the unhappy feelings but the feelings now emerge calmly and serendipitous. It feels odd to recognize the changes that have come about from returning to my home town. I had always assumed that a sort of misery would be created by the surroundings of my youth, except I have found quite the contrary.
The one thing that still remains true is that I will never return to conclude the life that started here many years ago. No, that cannot be and that emotion has never left, and while I am able to appreciate from where I came, I now know that my final destiny is elsewhere.
Growing up in the sun, with beaches everywhere and a climate to keep you warm all year long has given way to the four seasons that my life has offered.
I can now see that the spring of my youth was spent here in my hometown where all things were new and to be recognized in those early years.
Then it gave way to my long summers which took me away to all sorts of destinations which exposed me to the experiences that have prepared me for the autumn that is unfolding before me now.
I am thankful for my return flight home, for it has taught me that all was not as it seemed. I have had this forgiving journey to make quiet ammends to the ideas that I so immaturely thought about and unhappily remembered. It was making peace with the truth that has allowed me to look at past things with a smile instead of a frown.
This evening I sat on the seawall and watched the dimming golden sun meet the Gulf waters. I pondered how long it had been since I watched the sunset on my long forgotten shoreline and I realized that it was the first time that I truly became aware of such a natural wonder that was there all the time. It was hidden by my impetuous youth which stole the focus of such beauty. Today.....however... made up for all the missed sunsets....as the sun set, and brought the daylight to an end....I felt the inner glow of peace as I knew I made friends once again with my homefront.