Almost as soon as I collected my baggage after landing back in Tucson an odd sort of melancholy set in. I suspected it was normal.
"You just came back from the first vacation you've had in years, from a city you've always loved. This is normal." I kept telling myself this but after a week it began to sound a tad...pathetic.
I've lived in Tucson for over eighteen years, Arizona my entire life. It took half that time for my heart to fully embrace it instead of daydreaming about the Greyhound busses that would take me away to a more glamorous city like some cheesy '80s movie. Eventually those busses just looked dirty and I grew wise enough to know that those "dreams" were impractical (how would someone with zero dance training make it as a Broadway actress in New York City at 17) and my roots started to drop. I found the spots in this city that felt like home and eventually I (tried) to make my own. Until I didn't.
When I got pregnant and eventually married, Greg and I had moved to the north side of Tucson. While I found myself in a new world of motherhood and partnership, the world that I left behind moved on, and quickly. Fast forward to now and one marriage ended, life changing, self reinventing back in the place I had once found comfort in before and- I feel lost.
When I got on that plane to go to Seattle it felt like I was flying into a new version of myself.
"This is it. You are on your own."
Feeling new in a new city was a solid form of symbolism and it felt right. When I got back and felt lost in a city that should have felt like home, a sort of personal crisis set in. Who am I? What am I doing here? What's next?
And then a revelation set in right in time with our annual All Souls Procession that rocked me so hard with symbolism and poignancy that all I've wanted to do this week is lay in bed and cry. It happened when I took a walk in my new-old neighborhood, on a perfect Fall afternoon- a couple years ago Jack was learning how to walk on these sidewalks. A couple years ago we took a chance on each other with hope in our hearts and good intentions. A couple years ago I had a family to visit on Sundays and dinners to make for faces familiar. A couple years ago I didn't imagine myself on these sidewalks alone.
My home has become a graveyard of memories. Nostalgia biting me in the heels just as soon as I start feeling confident again, pointing out the things that are no longer and the feelings that came with them.
And so, I'm trying to learn how to love my city again in a new way. Even with the memories that go bump in the night and sidewalks that hold ghosts underneath, good and bad.
A couple nights ago the streets downtown were filled with people remembering the lives of loved ones lost, celebrating lives all around; faces painted like sugar skulls and sage burning in the air, they marched along to music and memories. For the first time since I got back I felt like I was in the right place.
I guess I'm back home, or at least as much as my heart will allow for these days.