I need changes. My body aches with stasis. I shop. I spend too much money. I buy clothes that I can’t wear yet; although the afternoon light has changed, become more golden, more burnished, the weather is still too warm for my cute fitted button-downs over camis, my caramel cords, my preppy penny loafers. Forgetting my plans to stop, I dye my hair, darker this time, a warm golden shade of brown that’s probably closer to its natural hue than it’s been in years.
I should have gone to the lake today, spent time with Suzanne, whom I haven’t seen for two months now, but I made excuses not to make the short trip. The weather today has finally cooled down a bit; the sky hung heavy with raindrops that couldn’t bother themselves to fall. More lonely around people than by myself lately, I skipped the coffee shop and read in my car in a parking lot. Three Junes, a novel recommended by someone I admire. Its rich, sincere emotions have wrapped themselves around my soul. I sequestered myself in my room and spent the evening reading.
At the grocery store with my mother earlier, between an argument, dropping a can of vegetables on my sandalled foot, and an idle conversation about some old classmates of mine, I blurted out this ridiculous, melodramatic declaration: “This place has a way of drawing us all back, like an evil magnet.”
My mother’s reply: “There’s nothing wrong with having a place to belong to.”
“I don’t belong here,” I said, and I know that it’s true.
“Where do you belong, then?” she said, and I wondered if she was hurt, if it bothers my family to know that the place they call home isn’t the place I want to be forever.
I told her I belonged in a city. Chicago, specifically. “It’s not you guys; I do feel at home with my family. But Roanoke? I don’t fit right here. I know my way around, but it doesn’t feel like the place where I need to be.”
She reminded me that I’m young, that I won’t be here forever, and I have years to figure out where I want to go. She’s right, of course.
“People can live anywhere, for awhile,” I said, and then she said she had to be getting home and she drove away and I got in my car, and went to pick up my sister. I was almost bothered that it had finally begun to rain enough to require windshield wipers.