There and Back Again

I never really got attached to Charlottesville because, while here, I constantly reminded myself that it was simply a temporary home for us. It was just another stop on our nomadic path to a one-day life of permanent, domestic bliss. Stay a year, move along.

So, when people were snobby or things didn't go smoothly for me, I said, "Whatever, that's just Charlottesville." The restaurants were good. It was nice to be able to walk wherever I wanted. But it never felt like the city in which I lived. Rob was a student, and I was almost a tourist; his live-in girlfriend, along for the ride.

I surprised myself on Thursday when I started feeling sad on my walk to get some coffee. Rob and I were only in town long enough to spend the night, pack a few things, and get brunch with some friends before heading to DC. It was early and it had rained all night, so the ground was damp and the air was cool. I would miss this place, I realized. I walked out the door and took a few steps before turning back for a scarf. The streets were quiet. The walk from apartment to coffee shop felt final.

I love Charlottesville, and I love my friends here, but I hadn't planned to feel bad about moving away.

I got to Para and ordered a latte, chatted with the barista, and took a seat at the bar to write a couple things down in a notebook. "Alright," I thought a few minutes later, "time for me to get back home." Home. I use the word loosely, and then I confuse myself with my many homes.

I walked back to the apartment, feeling a little down. There were things to pack, and the weekend would begin with Rob catching a flight to the other side of the world. But then I walked into our bedroom and crawled into the familiar arms of my still sleeping and scruffy-faced boyriend, and I felt at home, realizing that the great restaurants and that library and the coffee shop with homemade pistachio milk certainly help, but in the end, it doesn't matter if it's Charlottesville or Charlotte or Roanoke or China, because home is about who you find when you get there.