Well, Liv and I are all packed. We leave bright and early tomorrow to go to the little town where I grew up in Iowa. I think it has been about two years since I've been back.
Funny...I used to always call it home but now...absolutely not. Home is Bing. My little town is more like...that place where I grew up and couldn't wait to leave.
It's always hard for me, although I am so old now that I am no longer seen as that Last Name girl who broke her mother's heart by going lesbian. I swear, my mother felt like she could barely hold her head up when word got out that Maria had went girl gone wild and was not only living in sin...but living in sin with a.....GASP...woman!
After my mother died and I would go back to visit my other sisters, Jessie and Celia, there would always be the stares from mostly older women. It is a very small town and my mother was one of the saints in her church, always coming in and volunteering to dust the pews, always saw that there were fresh flowers on the altar. Word spreads like wildfire in a small town and I think she found it very hard to bear the shame of having one of her girls turn into what, in her eyes, was right next door to Satan worship.
Now, I go and no one really remembers me, but I still sometimes feel like Boo Radley.
Liv, as far as I know, just enjoys herself with her cousins.
But me? It's hard, difficult. The farm has long been sold, but sometimes we drive out to see how it's doing and when we pull in that driveway, my stomach goes a little tight. The last time I was in that house was when my mother stood at the back door holding it open wide and telling me that she would never allow me back in and to get out THIS INSTANT!
Her last words to me at that door were: "I will never forgive you for shaming me like this. Don't even think about coming back until you go to the priest and beg for forgiveness. Make a penance for your sins."
So, instead of remembering the sweet smell of alfalfa and the wonderful times with my family as I grew up, I just see that door and me stumbling out of it, tears blinding me.
But, I visit. I visit. And each time, it hurts less. But, I never can really forget it, you know? And I know it sounds stubborn and headstrong...but there is this part of me that just wants to show everyone that...that...that...
I DID NOT BACK DOWN.
That I kept my head up and lived my life as well as I could and that I think I did pretty well for myself.
But, on Monday...when Liv and I head back....there will be a small part of me that is glad to have it behind me. But, I will also look out the rear view window as my little town grows smaller and smaller and I will remember dancing with my sisters, wearing dish towels on our heads and singing,
And my first kiss. My first date. My good grades. Riding on the bus to the away football games. Prom. My high school friends. Sunday dinners with my family.
But, for now...chin up. Time to go visit my sisters. I want Liv to know her family and I want to show that I'm still standing.
Better than I ever was.....Be back Monday evening.....have a great weekend.
Wish me luck?