A few nights ago I visited the town I grew up in. It was strange and emotional to be back after so much time, so I put on the Blood Bank EP and took my nostalgic lil self down Tour de Memory Lane.
I drove by Target and Wing Stop and the park with the big grass hill that I used to tumble down head first.
I drove by Little Caesars and The Blind Pig and Rite Aid. I thought about how funny it is that that tiny, dilapidated old center holds so much of my heart. To foreign eyes, I imagine it would present itself as the corner of RSM that needs the most work, but I grew up sitting on the grass beside the lake.
Oooh, the lake... host of countless heart-to-hearts, picnic dates, Fourth of July celebrations, pre-dance get togethers, drunken nights at the Pig, walks with my favorite pupper nugget, and a handful of veeeery significant moments.
When I was small we would go to the lake, the four of us- mom, dad, Riley, and me. I remember we laughed and ate doughnuts and snuck little treats to the geese. We were happy and whole. My world felt safe because we were a family. And then, very suddenly, we were three, but the lake was still the place to spend sunny afternoons.
I was next to the lake the first time a boy told me he loved me and I was next to the lake the day I realized that I loved him too. I was next to the lake when it all fell together and I was next to the lake when it all fell apart.
So many of my tears and so many of my secrets live beside the lake. They have since the beginning of remembrance.
And then, just above the lake, a couple blocks or so lives 35. My last stop on Tour de Memory Lane.
This time, I didn't merely drive by. I needed a few minutes to pay homage. I parked in the front with my headlights turned off, and waited for the emotion to hit. I sat there for awhile remembering in the quiet dark until finally, someone ran up the stairs and disappeared.
Suddenly, it felt as though a small village had set up residency on my chest. The weight was burdensome. I could feel my heart, heavy with a great deal of re-memory. I cried. I cried and I cried, and it felt fitting to cry there. It felt like something I had been needing to do for awhile, the last piece in the puzzle of healing...
The heart remembers what the brain can't fully comprehend.
I went to 35 to wring out the last bits of pain and to bridge the gap between past and present, once and for all.
As I drove away, I whispered thanks to the wind.
Memories hurt and heal. I'm so glad to be at the latter end of that statement.