That Time at the Pool

On our way home, we stayed in a hotel unexpectedly. We were planning to make it all the way home but didn’t, so we used a last-minute internet service to book a room at what turned out to be a Hyatt Place in Durham. And not just anywhere in Durham, but right near where I started college, Duke University. It was very surreal, as I didn’t leave Duke by my own choice, and I hadn’t been back to Durham since. Yet, 15 years has buried so much of the way the town was. Has it also buried the optimistic me who arrived here so long ago? And anyway, was that place with the fried mushrooms still around?

Why am I living in the Southeast again? I worked so hard to get the heck out of this part of the country. I know and understand its culture, and yet I dislike it. It’s my own, but I abandoned it. And yet here it is, a big magnetic force in my life. Is it just going to love me until I love it back? I may be among this culture, but I am not of it. I would have happily lived & died in Tucson, or Maine, both of the places we’ve lived since being married. Maybe this portion of my life is a challenge to live adventures on the inside instead of within the world. I have definitely become more introverted and live more in my own head since moving here.

Why do I dislike it so much? Or is really just other ideas that upset me and the people are actually kinda OK? Is it me who’s not giving this place a chance? I know on paper, I’m supposed to start fresh, to make it my own and not get wrapped up in the trappings of the many bad memories. But that’s so much easier said than done. It’s like wallpapering your house with cautionary tales. So much easier to feel myself in my parents’ shoes. I know part of that is just becoming a parent, but I feel like that’s hard enough without the brick-and-mortar monuments to my memories.

I think the only way to interest myself in this place and make it a home for me and my family is, if I’m being honest, fantasy. To not revisit old places, but find new ones, even if they feel and look a lot like the old. Oh, who am I kidding. That doesn’t work that well for me. I need adventure and new places. Without them, I feel homesick. My heart is just elsewhere. And home is where the heart is.

Luckily for me, my heart is in my family, and these days, they go wherever I go. It was love that got me this far.

As for my head, I go wherever it goes.

(And sometimes, that’s just out for fried mushrooms.)