long time gone

Philadelphia is like a foreign city to me now, easing off the turnpike and snaking around six-eleven, sprawling in all directions away from our speeding borrowed car. There are unfamiliar murals and people dressed like in magazines – wide belts, slim skirts, business dresses – not like Portland, and hardly any trace of the seventeen years I spent here, the full first seventeen years of my life, less the first five months and some summers in Maine. Nothing reminds me of a place I ever knew. Even in my parents’ wide low house I don’t speak the language.

My father serves as tourguide from the driver’s seat, for the benefit of the AD and his daughter, but I think I’m the only one who is really taking it in. I note for the first time the number of unique children’s attractions here and I wonder – alarmingly, despairingly – if I will have enough visits to show them all to my son. If I will be able to see the Please Touch Museum and the Franklin Institute and Sesame Place again, as a grown-up.

The heat here is oppressive. The air is thick and unsatisfying in my lungs. I blame it for my impatience and my suddenly absent kindness. It explains to me why my parents don’t know their neighbors.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything. Longer probably than I’ve ever gone before. I have a baby now and a partner and a house and a full time job, and when I have a chance to entertain a personal indulgence, blogging isn’t it. But in its absence the weekend behind me seems to sit in my gut unprocessed: the wedding of a marriage-hating friend, the pollen-covered Susquehanna River, my soon-to-be-stepdaughter doing headstands in my mother’s pool. It weighs me down and confounds me. I don’t know how else to hold on to it or how else to let it go.