Hometown pride

4 Feb

I only ever sneak back in under cover of darkness. I don’t think it’s on purpose, the fact that our arrival into my hometown is always timed between midnight and 2 am. I tell myself it is because I am eager to come home, that we always leave as soon as we possibly can. It is likely I am lying to myself and just don’t want to be seen coming in. There’s never any fanfare, I don’t alert anyone to my impending arrival. I slip into my house, hole up for the most part and exit nearly as soon as I came. I have exceedingly good luck. I have literally, not once in five years, ran into someone I know unexpectedly. Even in the mall, which is nearly unheard of.
The whole place seems faded. The sky is a muted blue, the grass is always dead. Houses stand abandoned. I like to think it has deteriorated in the five years since I’ve left, but that’s another lie. It was never a paradise. It’s hard to believe I was comfortable here, that I ran these streets. That it was my world. That I ever felt safe, at seventeen, driving to the dive 24 hour diner at midnight, never ready to end the night, always hoping for more. Walking to school without worry, never noticing the things I was passing. Why wasnt I more scared? This place is loaded with sinister feelings now. Every single stranger seems to hold the promise of harm. I feel like an open target.
I feel like I failed it by leaving. That maybe the city expected more of all of us. We can’t expect it to get better if we all abandoned ship. Yet to stay, or even to leave and come back, smacks of a personal failure. The inability to make it in the real world. And personal pride wins out over hometown pride every time. So we turn tail and run, leave in droves, speak ill of the place that made us who we are. Wonder aloud why no one ever fixes it, why it doesn’t get better, but suffer silently with the knowledge that it’s our fault. That perhaps if we could shake the stigma, commit to the better, we could turn it around.
Seeing all the problems but being willing to provide none of the solutions.

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One Response to “Hometown pride”

  1. Nikki February 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm #

    You’re such a great writer – I love reading your posts!

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