The pull of other places is one I am very familiar with. Ever since moving across the country when I was five, I have known what it is like to long to be somewhere else. Throughout the year I couldn’t wait to go back. When I went back to spend the summers there, I’d be wishing I could return to my Mom and our new life. However much I missed one place, getting there would only make me realize I wanted the other too.
I learned that you can’t be everywhere, with everyone, no matter how much you might want to...
I want to be able to go to that brick house at the bottom of the hill and find my Mom’s parents still sitting in their chairs watching a ball game. I want to be able to walk down the hall to find my Grandma sitting at the kitchen table with her coffee and orange juice and rice krispies and my Ghiddu at the stove stirring cream of wheat. I want to load up their car and go for a drive to visit one of my aunts and find all of the cousins there ready for a swim in the pool.
I want to get on a plane and go to Cape Cod to find my bedroom at the top of the stairs with the lace curtains and the beach theme. I want to wake up to the sound of the fog horn on the barge and decide to take the bikes out on the shining sea trail. I want to get a call from my friend Shauna asking if I want to go walk on the canal or meet up with Rachael at her house. I want to make my way down to the beach with Hannah or just sit in the living room watching Monk reruns with her parents after sitting around the table long after dinner is over and heading to the kitchen to clean up the mess from earlier. I want it to be October, the tourists to be gone, the neighborhood kids to be out in the street playing hockey, and I want to go to Friendly’s for an ice cream cone after a day of teaching.
I want it to be summer and I want to head to the ranch to find all of my friends waiting for a retreat. I want to go in the kitchen to find Darlene and Anna and Ruth working away. To head out to the swings to find Dennis quietly tending to his flowers while Verle stands by munching on popcorn. I want to play volleyball until we can’t see the ball anymore and then move into the multipurpose building to play rummy.
I want to go work in the ringy dingy garden WITH Alice. And when every ring is clean and all the vegetables are picked, I want to come up with ten more jobs that don’t really need doing just so we can spend more time together. I want to hear her stories and learn more of the wisdom she has to share.
Sometimes I even want to walk home from school with Jordan to find my brother and sister waiting for me. I want them to come into my room and sit on the floor while I do my homework. I want to make macaroni and cheese or peanut butter and jelly for three and watch whatever they want to watch on the little tv in the kitchen. I want to load them up in the stroller and take a long walk to anywhere.
I want to sit on the porch swing stringing beans with my Granny on a hot summer day hearing stories about the devil (that’s another one for another day). To load up the car with my Dad and his parents to head to my aunt’s condo at the beach where we’ll spend our days in the sand and our evenings walking around the deserted streets or watching Shirley Temple. I want to eat bacon sandwiches with carrots and ranch or drink ice cold YooHoos with my brother.
I want to get off the bus and run over to Terry’s house to play with hot wheels underneath that big pine tree or maybe watch his rats play in their little cage. I want to race my brother on bikes around and around the house or play baseball in the side yard. I want to sit on the dog house with fishing poles pretending we’re on a boat in the ocean.
I long for plenty of places…but mostly, I long for the people that I knew in each one.
Some of the people are gone, some have grown up or grown old, but every single one of them hold places in my mind. Those are places that I can go back to, at least for now, while my mind remembers. As long as it doesn’t forget, I have a feeling I’ll be taking a lot of trips.
This post may look and sound a bit different than what you usually find here. It's a response to the prompt: "Often we feel pulled between two places...Tell us about them. Give us the pull, the conflict, the desire. "
This post is part of the "Old Friend from Far Away" writing exercises I've decided to do. Find out more about these exercises by clicking HERE.