Monday, May 12, 2014

Memory's Missed Stops

If only...

The sun shone bright and already it was hot. The drive to my appointment would take only half an hour so I settled into a radio station and tuned out as much of the rest of the world as I could. I'd driven there so many times the car could get there on autopilot, if I had such a device.

Thoughts began to pile up, most specifically about Savannah and my former life there. Sometimes I wonder: why did I ever leave? Ever since I moved back to Atlanta, all I've done is try to find a way back. A way back home.

The trees over-lapped the road and I remembered live oaks, draped with moss, lining the streets heading into the historic district. Traffic was congested, even at 9:30 am and suddenly the sun dappled streets of Abercorn and Victory, Broughton and Bay crowded into my mind and whispered, "Wish you were here."

I imagined myself back, driving into the squares surrounded by stately homes and towering cathedrals. I smiled and I thought, for a moment, I could smell the sea. Cars zoomed past but I didn't care. Let them zoom! My mind had taken me back to where I belong, where the pace is slower and the air is sweeter. Many might quip about the grass being greener; the grass in Savannah is nothing special but the town itself, ah, it is sweet indeed.

My turn appeared and I eased off the main highway onto a tiny street tucked into another time. Trees shade both sides and there are bizarre little stop signs that make you pause when you approach a church and an abandoned parking lot. One house in particular has been added onto so many times it stretches for what appears to be too far back onto the lot on which it sits. The porch is supported by wooden beams. I smiled: that's what the houses on Tybee Island look like. The closer to the ocean, the higher up they sit in case of flood waters and hurricane high tides.

Goofy smile plastered firmly on face, I hummed a little tune. Yes, when we move back I won't need a car for every errand. Bikes are an acceptable mode of transportation there. People understand that and they look out for bike and pedestrian alike. As I was daydreaming I looked to my left and slammed on the breaks. Savannah had so successfully pulled me out of the present that I watched my stop cruise past me. No one was behind me so I reversed and pulled into the lot, hoping no one saw me. They know me in there; I'm sure they'd wonder at my sudden forgetfulness!

Memory is a powerful thing. I transports us and blocks out the present. I laughed as I turned the car off. I've never missed a turn because of live oaks but that morning I did. And when I got out of the car, I thought, for a moment, I could smell the sea.


  1. Jen, this is exquisite writing.

  2. I lived in Savannah for two years. It is a special place. And, yes, the traffic is miserable at 9:30 as you head into the historic district. And when it rains the roads always flood because there is no good drainage system. But the squares are gorgeous. It feels like you're stepping back into time in some places.

    I hope you can return soon.

  3. Yes, I've driven past my stop before. I blame being caught up in a song at the time.
    Savannah is a cool town. Hope you get to move back there someday.

  4. There's so much nostalgia and longing in this post.

  5. =) There is such a romance to the past: all our pains and difficulties forgotten, only the best parts remain. *sigh* This was beautiful.

  6. Thank you ALL for the beautiful comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed this post! It's taken me a week to find the words for it.


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Cheers! ~J