Monday, December 19, 2011

Short Change

Pulled into Atlanta at around 5PM. Dinner at Miller Union. Farm egg baked in celery cream with rustic toast, pork and peanut terrine with fig and bacon, and chocolate bread pudding with rum sauce and crème fraîche. Also a cocktail. The place is located a literal stone's throw from where I once lived. I could honestly stick my head out a window and see the loft apartments Jayne and I called home directly across the street. I drove around Atlanta for a while. Never really noticed what a beautiful city it is. People everywhere. 52 degrees, so bundled up just enough. Omnipresent holiday lights providing a cheerful glow. Restaurants and bars and stores and theaters. There's a new black box theater directly behind my old apartment. Just part of the monumental change that's taken hold in that neighborhood. It's no longer "up-and-coming," as it was once pitched to us. It's now very much arrived. I thought. Thought a lot. I still wonder sometimes what would have happened had I not taken the job in New York. If my wife and I had stayed in Atlanta. In our lovely loft. With our dog. And my good job. Would we still be together? Would things have been different? Is there a parallel universe in which we never left? Never drifted apart? Never broke up? Could I walk up the stairs in my old building, find a key, put it in a lock and walk into my old life? Would she be there? The person I once thought I knew. I miss that person sometimes. But she never actually existed. So if she was a phantom anyway, why can't she still be there? Up there. In that apartment. Waiting. The future I imagined for myself ready to be unlocked and lived, exactly as I'd hoped. But I know that's not possible. The past is meaningless. There's no going back. There are no do-overs. There's only here. Now. This. And forward. I leave in the morning.


Stopped in Atlanta for the night. 532 miles total. End of Day 1.

Most Recently on the Playlist:

Death Cab for Cutie -- Passengers Seat

Elliott Smith -- Twilight

Liz Longley -- Little White House


Leigh C. said...

People everywhere, perhaps, but such loneliness in your pictures.

Drive carefully.

Alanna said...

I love that you are documenting this trip. For what it's worth, whether "she" is still up there or not, you'll always have those times there. I drove past my old apartment in Southern California last year and thought "if we never left, would we still be?" and who knows.

Keep it moving. You've got road, journey, time and life all ahead of you. I'm so excited for you.

CNNfan said...

You may have become one of the corporate 1% had you stayed in Atlanta, which has the widest income gap between the upper and lower classes, says the U.S. Census.

Welcome to the future.

timelady said...

There would be no Inara. As haunted as I am also by the ghosts of lives not led, or paths not chosen, and even worse, the past that was, I console myself with faces of my children. For all choices led to them, and for that, I am grateful.

And life, as life will, threw me a gift casually unexpectedly, and the past became the present and the future in a new, unexpected way. And I am alive again, not just counting moments.

Life had blindsided you with pain. It can also blindside you with equally unlooked for gifts.

kanye said...

Maybe, in that parallel universe, a hallow-eyed, slack-jawed version of yourself spends his days having the drool wiped from his chin and the shit from his ass, because the Atlanta surgeon employed a different procedure than the New york surgeon, and in doing so, grabbed a bit of frontal lobe along with the tumor.

"You can't go home again."--Maxwell Perkins

Nick said...

Inara is your future. Let go.

Anonymous said...

There is a poem I love called Summer Storms. The last lines say it all...

"There are so many might have beens,
What ifs that won't stay buried,
Other cities, other jobs,
Strangers we might have married.

And memory insists on pining
For places it never went,
As if life would be happier
Just by being different."