Memorial Day

I went to the cemetery in spite of a nagging feeling I should stay home. I learned a long time ago to trust my intuition but for reasons I can’t explain every now and then I ignore it. I took flowers to Lauren’s grave then took the long drive on Route 231 to Rensselaer. When I was young we learned that the place was named after a merchant in New York who came to the area after his business failed. My dad used to joke that the place was for folks looking for second chances. I grew up on a farm just outside the city limits. The last census tallied 5859 people there and as a kid I was determined not to be one of them. I knew I was different and different isn’t cool if you’re stuck in a small town with small minded people.

After I visited my parent’s grave site I took the back roads to where our house used to be. It burned to the ground years ago but I still feel drawn to the property. Farmers had planted seed in the ground and green sprouts on small hills led me there. Instead of driving by the barren lot I had the urge to drive up to where the house used to be. Surprised the land hadn’t been tilled up I drove over to the lone decrepit grain bin and got out of the car. I didn’t have to close my eyes to hear my parents laughing or envision my Stingray bike propped up next to the house. The nearest neighbor was five miles away so I didn’t feel weird meandering around remembering life there. After a short time I headed back to the car. When I sat down a wave of sadness brought tears with it. I didn’t fight it until full blown sobs made it hard to breathe. As I headed back to the city I felt more alone than I had in a long, long time. I heard Lauren’s voice say, “You can’t go home again.”

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