I graduated college in 1995, after 6 years in the same city, 4.5 years at the same job, 3 years in the same house. I entered my final semester freshly heartbroken and lovelorn. I retreated to my room a lot that semester, playing the same sad CDs over and over, drinking a lot of solitary malt liquor, writing a lot of poetry on my little electric word processor while sitting Indian-style on my bright royal-blue carpetted floor. I took lots of road trips; I drove to Wilmington when I could, sometimes Boone or Chapel Hill. It wasn't an anguished heartbreak, but a resigned feeling that accepted longing as something that would probably alwys curse me. The semester was filled with a sense of finality; I knew I was leaving, I had outlasted most of my friends and I needed to go far away, by myself. The frailty of time and impermanence of place weighed heavy on my mind. I had loved Greensboro once, but we had run out of things to say to one another.
Tonight, I uncovered one of those CDs. Tom Petty's 'Wildflowers.' Suddenly, I'm flooded with deja vu. I have one semester left here in law school. I'm not sure where I'm going afterwards or what I'll be doing. The heartbreak lingers. The people I've met the last nine years have become bubbles made by a bubble wand; some have burst when I grabbed at them, some I just let float off. For two hours tonight, all I wanted to do was start packing up my apartment. Not because I was angry and frustrated, simply because it felt like the only appropriate thing to do anymore.
When I left home at 18 to go off to college, I knew that I was never going back, not substantially anyway. I had had the same bedroom for 16 years. Same carport, same fridge, same bathroom fixtures. For weeks, I would walk out into the yard late at night and just lay on the ground and stare at the stars and pet the dog. For hours. All three times, things just felt heavy.