Recently, I got an order from Made, the cutest shop in Lawrence, KS where I sell my wares. The owners are so nice and offer to pay for shipping, but I always jump at the chance to have an excuse to return to Lawrence, where I went to college.
With Wade preoccupied watching football, it was a chance to make this familiar trek by myself. Immediately after getting in the car, I put on an album that I used to listen to on endless repeat during college and let myself get swept back in time. It wasn't just reminiscing; it was visiting an old friend. I drove the 45 minutes with the windows down, singing at the top of my lungs to a song I hadn't wanted to play for a long time.
The leaves had all changed to burnt oranges and crisp reds. The blue sky had to sneak through what appeared to be just a blanket of a cloud; just one mass that moved effortlessly in tandem.
Almost there, I thought about how many times I had driven this road that had always acted as a tether between my past and my future. Before, it was a beacon into the bright unknown, and now it is a past I want to keep visiting again and again. My experiences here seem to be permanently burned into the landscape. I can see myself walking over that hill with my Sony Discman playing that same CD for the hundredth time, wallowing in early adulthood angst. Now, with the soft romantic glow of time spread over these memories, though, I smile at all of them because I know how the story unfolded.
With only a few hours, I did what I do when I return to this place alone, now that I no longer really belong. I run up the steep hill from my old apartment and over to campus where I slow down to intently look at each building where I listened earnestly to things I had never heard or thought about before. The possibilities were endless, and everything was wide open.
I’m not exactly sure why I always yearn to return here. I guess it’s because this place is where I spent those formative years that helped make me who I am (and the person I am still becoming). I know that my home and parents really formed the basis of this, but being thrown out on your own and having to figure out how you want to live and who you want to be without constant supervision is when you ultimately become you. You fly, you stumble, and you realize how strong you are.
I think a part of me will always be walking along these old brick streets, endlessly lost in thought. Those were my favorite moments, and still are, walking alone and just thinking to myself. Sorting things out in my head, wondering about the future, and planning what I’ll have for dinner that night.