It is the night before I start on the annual trek back home. Or at least where I grew up. Detroit. The Motor City.
Every year it gets harder and harder. The place I grew up is not the same anymore. It seems smaller, dirtier somehow. Ironic, since I live in one of the dirtiest cities in the universe. But true.
I go home, and it is not familiar any more. Places I knew are gone, new stores and businesses have taken over my hometown. The people I knew have moved or moved on in their lives. The home I remember is but a ghost of what exists today.
The hardest thing to get used to is that the people I knew are gone. In spirit more than in person. The ones that have remained have "grown up". Most have gotten married, some have kids. The time we spent together, the good times and adventures are tales of nostalgia, and an era they have moved on from. I never moved on. I like that life and want to continue in it.
Some of the friends I truly enjoy catching up with. And then some of them look at me funny. To them I am a tourist, and get the courtesies and politeness reserved for strangers. To others I am entertainment. People who expect to hear exciting adventures from a glamorous lifestyle. A dancing monkey. I am who I am, if I had remained would I still be exotic or an outcast?
Or maybe I am avoiding thinking about the hardest part about coming home, remembering the dreams I lost. I simultaneously hope and dread that I will see my ex, the guy I fell in love with and left behind. How terrible is it that I hope to see him to flaunt what he lost? Yet I dread him because when I see him then I realize what I lost. One sensation does not exist without the other, yet the entire sensation so hollow and sad.
Thomas Wolfe said you can't go home again. Such a simple statement, but so true.
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