The gravel of the unpaved road crunched underneath my shoes. I wore a black suit, a black tie, polished black shoes, and a pressed white shirt. In the past, these sorts of clothes would make me feel uncomfortable, or like a child dressed in his father’s clothes. But I was a different person now. Clothes like this gave me comfort of a sort, a comfort in not standing out in a crowded room. I looked like an average guy for my age, and I was happy for it. Especially here. The chapel had filled up quickly, and soon I could turn around and gaze into a sea of homogeneity – men and women alike, black dresses and black suits that looked identical to one other. I couldn’t leave fast enough. I didn’t quite know where I was going, the streets had changed so much since my youth. Where dirt roads had once lain, bustling city streets had taken over, each lined with strip malls and traffic lights. Each turn was more unfamiliar than the last. Yet I continued along what would seem to anyone else like a predetermined route. A right here, then a left, then another right – it was as if my car was guiding me through an impossible series of turns and curves. I slowed to a stop in the middle of the road. I had no idea how long I had driven, but somehow, I ended up in a section of town that had not yet been renovated. I stepped out of the car, gazing around at the old, dilapidated buildings. They were familiar in an odd way. It hit me then, what I was looking at. The picturesque structures that had lined the streets of my youth were now worn by years of neglect. The brick and mortar that had once held them together was now crumbling apart, and nature’s tendrils and vines snaked up through the cement, cracking it further. I stood there, for God knows how long, awash in pleasant nostalgia. Tears began to form in my eyes, as I slowly began to realize what had happened - this world that had stood immortal in my thoughts now lay sprawled before me, broken and bleeding. It was as if a window looking into my memories had been shattered, and each storefront along with it.
August 2, 2013