This (final!) month's prompts are train, trophy, typewriter, umbrella, Vietnam, war, washing machine, widow, window.
I was 13 years old when we moved from Folsom, LA to Birmingham, AL. I did NOT want to move. After five years in one place, I finally felt “at home.” I had friends I could count on. I was enjoying school and piano lessons and church choir. There was a boy I adored, horses in the pasture, oak trees for climbing, and a gurgling creek where we could catch crawdads.
I tried to convince my parents I should move in with one of my friends, but, of course, they did not allow it. Instead, they sent me back for a visit just a couple of months after we moved. I boarded an Amtrak train all by myself, and for 7 hours I watched the world pass by my window, my stomach churning butterflies the whole time. I couldn't wait to see my friends! I was even going to be able to attend a day at my old school. I was so excited that I don't remember much about the train ride, except that it got me where I wanted to go.
Only, it wasn't anything like I expected it to be. Everyone had changed. They'd moved on without me. The school day was miserable... I didn't fit there anymore, and I didn't fit in my new place either. It was a brutal lesson in how you can't backwards in life. Only forward. Perhaps my parents knew this, that I would need a dose of reality. I have always been highly imaginative, and have often idealized times, places, relationships. Yet, here it was, here I was, and it wasn't the way I remembered it AT ALL. It was sad, but it was also easier to move on after that trip.
Someday I am going to write a poem in two parts: the first half about riding the train TO New Orleans, and the second part about riding it back to Birmingham. I kind of grew up in that few-days'-space between. Sigh.
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