Homeward Bound

I wish I was

So little has changed here, I thought, driving through my hometown a few weeks ago. The hairpin country roads still wind past expensive housing developments directly across the street from stinky cow farms.

The winter wheat, so green and lush it hurts your eyes to see it, still ripples in the spring breeze.When I stop the car and get out for a moment, the stillness is thick and deafening.

I zipped past the home of a high school friend, and I wondered what had become of her and her 1,000-watt smile. I drove past my high school, and the scent of the halls — industrial cleaner, dust, over-applied cologne, sweat and rampant hormones — filled my nostrils.

As I drove up the street where I used to live, I glanced at the trees arching over the road, framing the blue spring sky. Suddenly I was a child again, and we were returning from vacation. Those trees always meant I was home.

I could smell the faint sooty odor that our house always had when the air conditioning was running, and the sensation was so overpowering that it brought tears to my eyes. 

Is this what it’s like to get old? I wondered, glancing at my sleeping son in the backseat.

To remember with clarity so sharp that it pierces your heart in places you had forgotten?

Article © 2006 by Stacey Duck