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They Say You Can't Go Home Again
"You can't go home again"
That's what they say. I never truly grasped the meaning of this common turn of phrase until I went home again.
Returning to my small hometown after many years of living away, I hardly expected fanfare. I did think, however, that my old friends would welcome me home. We'd reunite, reminisce, rekindle our friendships. Granted, we hadn't been as diligent t keeping in touch as we could've been, but I didn't think it would matter. My plans fell flat, to say the least.
It's an odd thing to come back to the place you call home and be a stranger. To look around at the people you hold dear to your heart and realize you don't know each other anymore. That the connections you'd once shared had "timed out", to use the parlance of our digital age. The lives they'd built, memories they'd made, the pain and joy they'd shared... I was not a part of it. At first, I hurt. Agonized over what and who I'd lost. Was angry, even. Not at them, of course, but at life...time... at the distance that had grown between us. I was an outsider looking in, clinging to something that would never be again.
Then I choked down the painful reality that those days were long gone, the years I'd missed as well, and that there would be no recapturing them. To those people, to whom I owe the very breath in my lungs, who changed my path in ways they may never know, who's kind words and deeds I will carry with my always... I thank you. I love you. I miss you.
And I will always be here, just outside, cheering you on.