In These Hills

I’ve missed travel. Since I moved to the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area, I have barely gotten to travel just around the state, and even then, it’s only been to places known and loved and longed for.

This weekend, I am in Tallahassee, which curls like a tiny sliver of rusted upstate New York embedded in in the muscle tissue of the outskirts of Atlanta. It claims to be a city. I suppose it is, but it feels like a corroded eroded shell of a town. It reeks of politics. It feels like a college wasteland.

Passing by rows of frat houses, I realize how strange my college experience was. I never had to deal with a fraternity, and even mid week, these buildings wore a halo of unkempt decay. I felt like an intruder.

Home crept in around Railroad Square, decked in yarn and spray paint. The old tumble-down warehouses all repurposed for art, it felt like the city of Megaton in Fallout 3, and in the breeze, I could hear metal creak. The red orange sun sliding below the horizon lit the red orange rust gilding the corrugated steel. But even here, except for the rock climbing gym, the dirt paths rolled up at 6pm, an artsy extension of Punta Gorda.

I admit it. I love this place in pieces. I want to carry slices in pockets to take out and devour at odd times by the railroad tracks off Himmarshee, want to crumble it and sprinkle it into forsythia strewn neighborhoods of Queens, want to wear it about Tampa under silent high rises that all close up at night. I want to carry it with me, these parts and pieces to cobble together a vision of home.

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