July 24, 2021
The Louisville Vacation
Today, things weren’t as bright, weren’t so high. I didn’t drink anything to speak of, but I’ve felt fuzzy and a bit dizzy all evening.
I saw Ethel, my love Ethel. And Lola. And I was with my friends. It felt familiar and comfortable and safe. But it also felt transient and moving and shifting and frightening.
It’s been two years, two months, and two weeks since I landed in Portland, and my niece picked me up, and we drove to my mother’s house in Centralia, and I walked in, and it was temporary, and then it was permanent. And it was an ugly adjustment. My mother almost died many times that first six months. And I almost died many times that first six months. And many more times since.
I created this place in my mind, all the best of Louisville. All the best people, the best experiences, only the highest joy. And that place took on a life of its own. I let it grow into something big. I let it be a place I could visit and feel only good feelings, safe feelings, belonging feelings, home feelings.
I’d pull up short sometimes, and remember something really painful, or something really destructive that I did or that was done to me when I was living here, and I’d just push it out. I didn’t let anything sully that Louisville place that lived in my mind. I knew I was lying to myself, but I lied to myself that I wasn’t, and I did it anyway. But when you know you’re lying to yourself and you keep doing it anyway, you know that lie is going to unravel at some point, and you’re going to see everything differently.
The Louisville I built in my mind was frozen. None of the players ever changed. The connections, the camaraderie, all that was just the same as it ever was. But I’m here, now, and nothing is the same. Some of the players are the same, some are new, and some are gone. We’re all two years older, forever changed by the pandemic and forever changed simply by the passing of time.
Jeff is gone. He was gone a long time before I left Louisville, but he was Louisville. And he still is Louisville. I can’t think of one without the other. But Jeff is gone. My memories of him are more than three years old. Before, I was sad that I couldn’t let Jeff go. Now I’m sad that I can.
I want to construct a new Louisville in my mind, one based on the time I’m here now. A new and better and more current Louisville that I can hold and keep always. I want to nurture that reconstructed construct, and let it grow big and wonderful with only all the best of everything. Thinking that makes me happy. Imagining I will still have a Louisville place to go in my mind makes me feel safe.
But I realize, every time and place I try to capture and hold and freeze, the next moment, it no longer exists. There is no permanence to anything.
I know all of this already. I’ve known all of this all along. Why do I feel so sick?