It kind of felt like learning to walk again when I left. I felt exhilarated by my new-found separation from such a shaping relationship and simultaneously a little lost. The good kind of lost. The kind of lost that makes you feel like you are teaching yourself something new. Sure, I had pangs of homesickness, because he was what I considered home for as long as I could remember. But missing familiarity eventually turned into embracing change.
I met new people. I dabbled in new relationships. At first, it felt right. Like making an A on a test makes you feel right. Which felt good. New relationships were accomplishments in moving on, but not much more than that. After all, GPAs don’t matter much in the scheme of life. Nonetheless, the new relationships were fun and easy. I could feign attachment without skipping a beat of my own agenda. I almost fooled myself into thinking I was anything but detached. I liked it that way.
I strategically and forcefully changed all of my radio stations; a subconscious attempt at moving on. It was working splendidly until DJ Heavy Metal decided to throw in a little Tim McGraw for shits and giggles. My new guy quickly reached out at the exact moment as me… only he was reaching out to turn the station, and I was reaching out to turn up the volume. “I never liked country,” he said.
As I looked around, it was as if everything suspended for a brief moment, and in that moment, nothing looked right. Something shattered in me, and I immediately thought of him.
After that, I began to shell up even more. I would steam up the bathroom to mimic the humidity we used to bask in. I would pour a little too much on the rocks. I started cooking those savory meals again, and found myself seeking solace in my headphones, blasting nothing but country. I tried to transfer all of the things I loved about him, into my new relationships.
I’ll never forget the moment we reunited. The radio must have been on our side, because the perfect songs trickled in as we sat on the tailgate together in the damp air. I didn’t say anything, I just breathed him in. I never believed in the saying, “you never know what you have until its gone,” just as I never liked Country. But sometimes you just have to admit you were wrong. And that’s why I went back.
I missed you, Louisiana.
This two part post was inspired by A New Orleans Love Story by Joey Albanese about New Orleans.