This is a narrative that I wrote a few years ago and finally decided to publish on my blog website for everyone to read. Enjoy!
People say that a good laugh and a long nap are the two universal cures for almost everything. However, I have my own method. I drive.
Where I drive and for how long depends on three things: How much gas I have, what song is playing, and my state of mind. I drive for all kinds of reasons. I drive for my issues. I drive for every person who tries to break down these high walls i've built around my heart. I drive because of vulnerability. I drive to clear my head. I drive to make important decisions. I drive because i'm scared. I drive when I have no clue what i'm searching for in this life.
But tonight, I drove for closure.
I had just arrived at my home on Deakle Lane and gotten out of my car. As I was walking inside, I passed the spot where we shared our first kiss. You know the one. The small patch of grass beside the driveway sits shaded by the pecan tree above. I glanced at it, and I immediately felt it. The all too familiar pain of our memories came flooding back and ached like a twisting knife in the heart. I'm over you, right? The memories shouldn't still be here to haunt me. And I knew right then.. I needed to drive.
The night was biting cold as I struggled to hold back my tears and make it back to my car, where I spent what seemed like ages fumbling with my keys until I finally felt the unlock button. I climbed into the driver's seat. It took a minute for me to move. I sat there instead with my hands on the wheel and my forehead pressed against it, taking in deep breaths of the cool air that was slowly becoming tolerable. Sitting up, I wiped my eyes.. though it was as useless as trying to stop a river from flowing. I had nowhere in particular to go, but somehow driving seemed like the only option.
I pulled out of my drive way and headed toward the main road. At the stop sign, my heart was aching to tug my wheel to the right. The right that would've brought me to your house in two and a half minutes. But instead, I went left.
That left turn took me through a flashback of every memory we made in this small town, and I could hardly handle it. The pain was excruciating, and I couldn't understand why.
The first place of significance that I passed was the Bayou La Batre Community Center. You used to play basketball there for fun every wednesday night with a random group of guys. You would beg me to bring you a gatorade but told me not to dress cute because "the other guys would stare at your girlfriend". I routinely went to the BP next door and brought you a drink in the middle of your game, but you didn't care. You would come home from those basketball games so frustrated sometimes, but we'd always find a way to brighten your mood again.
After waiting far too long at the first light, I took a left at the CVS when it flashed green. I then passed Sonic. Our Sonic. The first time I ever went anywhere with you, you brought me here. You paid for my milkshake, we talked for a while, and you brought me back home. You were so nervous. Well, we both were. As I passed the location of our "first date", I saw it all play out, and through the tears, I smiled thinking about how awkward we both were at first.
The next place I passed was Hardee's. Our prime breakfast place. In the mornings, we came here. Mornings when we didn't come here, you were hand-delivering my egg and cheese biscuit and cold orange juice straight to my bed to wake me up with a kiss. The lump in my throat got bigger, and my chest felt like someone had dropped a cinder block on it. The pressure was overwhelming.
With the drawbridge in my view, I passed Little River Road. The Levy was always our go to place for everything. Anytime we were fighting or just needed to get away from it all, The Levy was our beautiful escape. You could see every star in the night sky from our spot. The ache worsened.
My crossing over the drawbridge led me to pass the "Pack-a-Sack" gas station, as you called it. They always did have the best Icees. You taught me that the first Icee you get from the machine doesn't taste near as good as the second. I never understood this concept, but for some reason, it was always proven.
I took the scenic drive down to the Bait Shop and had flashbacks of all the fishing trips. There's nothing quite like the early morning sunrise over the Bay. It was always so breathtakingly beautiful.
You know how the scenic drive goes. The bend takes us past your Dad's business, and then my Dad's shipyard. It's a drive we made more times than I could ever count. The spotlight was on at Rodriguez Boat Builder's. We fished under it several times and caught a few "special trout" while getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. The next flashback I had is what broke me. I glanced over at one of the half finished ships sitting on the yard, and remembered the first time I brought you there. My dad had just finished an enormous jack up barge. I walked you all the way to the top of it, and we stood there and kissed while we overlooked the entire Bayou under the midnight sky.
I couldn't do this anymore. Normally, driving is a solution. Tonight, it was a problem.
Until I turned around.
I needed to get back home. I needed to heal in some other way besides allowing all of the memories and hurt to flood back in. But somewhere between "All Too Well" by Taylor Swift, and "Kiss Goodbye" by Little Big Town, I was fixed.
When I passed back by Little River Road, it wasn't as beautiful as it once was. A large industrial building has overtaken the area, and it's so lit up that you can't spot a single star in even the darkest of skies. It had changed since it was ours. Strange, I thought. Why hadn't I noticed this on the drive in?
I passed Hardee's again and realized the sign was gone. It's closed. When did it go out of business? I wondered. And why hadn't I noticed it before?
Sonic slowly dragged past my passenger side window, and it looked so dreary. All of the windows were boarded up, the sign was gone, and it looked abandoned. It was almost sad to see how vacant one of my old favorite spots now looked.
Minute by minute, I could feel myself getting relief from the chest pain. The lump in my throat was subsiding. What was happening to me?
I took the right onto Deakle Lane, pulled into my drive way, and parked my car in my usual place, right under the glow in the dark basketball net that still hangs delicately where you placed it for me so many years ago. I wasn't ready to face the spot again. The place beside my driveway that made me ache in the beginning and caused me to drive. But I did it. I got out of my car. The cold wind burned my face, but when I closed my eyes, I could almost swear it was your warm breath brushing against my face again. I could almost feel your skin against mine. I could hear you whisper those three words.. those eight letters. And then, I bravely glanced over, and I realized something. The tears were gone. The place in my yard that was once so significant to me, looked different. The grass we had made memories on, was no longer beautiful. It was ugly and brown and withered and had obviously lost the magic it once possessed. It didn't look like the same place where I shared the first kiss with my best friend. Just like everything else I passed on my way home from my drive..It, too, had changed.
I almost laughed at the irony of it all. Every place I passed that night, every memory that crossed my tangled mind.. died when I realized the place itself had actually become insignificant. The only reason we hold onto memories so tight, is because memories are the only things that don't change.. even when the people in them do. Tonight, I drove for closure. I drove to forget you. I drove to love myself again. I drove to leave you behind along with every memory associated with you. I drove to start fresh and make new memories in the same places with someone else.
and I'll never drive for the same reason again.