Contentment. It washed over me as the mild breeze drifted through the air and the sun’s rays illuminated the field of withered brown grass before me. Thought still the midst of winter, the smiling faces and cheerful chirping heard overhead all seemed to indicate one thing: spring was near.
While I was miles away, but if I closed my eyes, I could have convinced myself that I was back on the streets of my hometown, younger and feeling as though I had already already outgrown its winding river and back alleys at sixteen. It’s funny how distance and time makes us yearn for the comforts of home. The familiarity of jagged pavement beneath our feet and the quiet bustle of a small cement town.
The winter wind, light and tinged with the warmth of late spring is a reminder of the days passed. The first time you drive on your own, with the windows down and your childhood friend in the passenger seat, laughing loudly over the latest pop song on the radio. That sound will always stay tucked away in the back of your mind. For a moment, you can feel the muddy ground give way to the spikes of soccer cleats on the first warm day of the spring season, and the camaraderie you share with your team carries you through another grueling practice.
These memories seem so far away, almost as though they belong to someone else. Walking through your hometown, it no longer feels like home. Stretched and too small. New faces inhabit the spaces that were once yours, but you know, deep down, they were never yours to keep.