I have butterflies in my stomach for Memphis on Wednesday. Spending more than one night in the room I did so much growing up in seems like a strange thought. I haven't done it in over a year and a half. I've woken up in my own bed before, in my own Chicago apartment in a state of unease when I look around and am suddenly not in the room with the window seat in the heart of a southern, suburban neighborhood. Two and a half years after moving out (quickly) and six since making my first decision to leave (O-H-I-O), I still woke up surprised by my location, my adulthood or both.
I have never been scared of getting older, in fact I still look forward to the things that allegedly come with age if you work hard- adventures, experience and an all-around richer existence. Does it thrill me me when a gray hair is mixed in with the highlights? Well, I didn't say I wasn't vain. My point is that I'm going home and I'm not a teenager anymore. Four days of my being a card-carrying, lease-holding, laptop-toting grown-ish woman. Out of college for a few years, with the same firm for a couple and living (albeit barely) in the great American city. I will now exist for a short time in a place I knew well for 18 years, but as someone very different from how it remembers me.
What I have been able to pick up on in my three 36 hour stints home is that Memphis isn't the duplicitous debutante I remember either. It's a cool, soulful city with a thriving music scene, a revived downtown and great restaurants. It also remains home to many of my very favorite people. So that's why I have butterflies and not just nerves.
Having discussed my itinerary with Dad on Sunday I will be reaping the best of this city I am now a tourist in. Out with the old crew on Wednesday on Beale St, feasting with the family/friends on Thursday in Shady Creek, the requisite movie with the family that night, visiting various new spouses and babies on Friday, out to dinner that evening and the Grizzlies on Saturday. And then drugging the cat again and dragging her back to the home I've adopted for us. My guess and my hope is that I will smile all the way down to and all the way back from a visit reacquainting two complicated ladies who, in the midst of simultaneously angsty gentrification, just misunderstood each other.
Title taken from lyrics to "Lady Memphis" by Jonathan Rice