“Human beings are works in progress that mistakenly think they’re finished.”–Daniel Gilbert
Home again. Not sure if it’s a house or a feeling. How can home be a place you only visit twice a year? How come the place you’re at the rest of the time doesn’t feel like home at all? This girl today ain’t the same tomorrow. Ten years ago she was someone else entirely. Quieter then. High school then. Ten-year reunion this summer, but wasn’t it a reunion last Saturday night at the bar?
Dad’s going grayer. More stores have opened, expanded to fill empty lots, clear cut the orchards. The kids are getting taller. Getting older; don’t want to grow up. Don’t have to here. Momma’s home cooking and no responsibilities. Turn off the work email and turn up the radio. Speed along those back country roads hoping they lead somewhere new, anywhere familiar. Before, they led over the mountains; now they lead right back here. Drive a circle around this valley. Time is a circle. End up back here every Saturday night.
Not the real me here, or perhaps too real it’s scary. Is your identity attached to a place? A person? An experience? Feels as fluid as the whiskey shot before going out. Slip on a pair of leather boots and kiss a cowboy. Could kiss every cowboy in this town. Don’t belong here don’t belong here don’t belong here.
The girl before wanted out so badly, wanted to see the world. Still seeing it. Would that girl like who she’s become? Wanted to be braver then. Not brave enough now. Is bravery accepting yourself or not caring if others don’t? Got secrets to spill after a few drinks. Pour another drink; pour another confession. Forgive her father, she’s not the girl she once was. Forgive her father, she was always this girl. Should you feel guilt for changing? Shame is a useless feeling; done away with it like religion. Shed that skin. The body is constantly changing in its march towards death. It’s the tragic and perfect nature of living. Play god and determine the changing yourself. More tattoos than that girl had. More scars too. That girl couldn’t survive what this girl’s been through. Had to get out to be sure you could.
Leaving makes coming back easier. Know the shape of this town like you know the contours of your lover’s body. The bar is the center of it all. It’s the church and we love being sinners. Drink of the body; dance with a stranger. The vodka tastes cheap, but at some point in the night you stop caring. Is that change? All the country songs are about whiskey. That girl couldn’t shoot it to save her life. This girl sips it slow, like the good lord intended. Is that progress?
Feel restless and content at the same time, like standing still but your heart is racing. Could wait ten years to come back; could come back every day. It’s the same. Everything changes; nothing changes. Just like this girl.