Home. Virginia Beach.
This place has a story; it knows mine. If we drive to the rec center, I can point out the spot in the woods where I kissed a boy, though I wouldn’t tell him it was my first. I can show where I was warned during driver’s ed when I forgot to yield when making a left turn. I can navigate the streets to my old home with precision, instinctively knowing when to push a little harder on the accelerator and when to back off and prepare the break.
Even though I’ve been gone ten years, I immediately recognize the cadence here.
I know the way the grass rises out of the bay. I recognize the sea salt that hangs in the air and settles in my pores. Salt water and gasoline is the smell of my childhood. Those on boats seem unaware that you could even live in a place where water isn’t part of your daily life, where bridges don’t dictate traffic decisions.
We ate at the local oyster bar last night. A twenty minute wait that would have annoyed me in Boise doesn’t faze me. Anything to be surrounded by the noise of a Friday night on the bay sitting on a picnic table eating fresh oysters that seem a little plumper, taste a little richer.
I watched the pink sunset behind the cumulous clouds and forget the thunderstorms that seemed imminent only hours before. Watching the sun set sitting on the bay has been a ritual since I was in high school. Whenever I get anxious, this sunset is what I return to in my mind as I ask peace to settle back into my soul.
I do not live here anymore. I may never live here again. But it will always be my home. This is where I grew up and returning here is like returning to a forgotten dream.