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.


Jaime said...

Writing may not be just an indulgence.

Carter Lee said...

It seems to be a gift. Congratulations, by the way.