I flew out of Dulles. Dulles is a pretty good airport, about five miles from our house, and they get you in and to the gate fairly quickly. The Southwest ticket counter is right next to the one for Ethiopian Airlines. I don’t know if Ethiopian Air only has one flight a day, or what, but their line always stretches forever.
The flight path goes a little south of our neighborhood. I looked out the window and tried to find where we live, but I couldn’t It was down there somewhere, I could pick out the general area, but was unable to narrow it down any more than that. To be honest, I have trouble finding it when I am at ground level, as the houses all look more or less the same.
Had a brief layover in Chicago, ate a Chicago style hot-dog as is my habit whenever I fly through Midway, and then flew (well, the plane flew and I rode) back into Louisville
The plane banked over downtown, close enough that it felt like you could lean out the window and touch the buildings. I could name almost all of them. I knew what they looked like from street level. I knew what businesses were located inside them. I couldn’t see my house, but what I could see, I could identify. A park I run in. A restaurant I liked to eat at. The rival high school and the dentist office across the street from it.
I was staring out the window with such intensity that I made myself a little nauseous.
It felt strange to be back. I’ve lived in Louisville, for all intents and purposes, my whole life. My mom and dad, who love and I am very close to, live there. I know the main streets and the back-ways. I know the history of buildings that aren’t there anymore. It’s been home forever and now it isn’t.
I had a weird dream the other night. I told C about it upon waking, even as the details were fading. At one point in the dream, I was in a building, walking up a flight of stairs. The building was unfamiliar to me, but the staircase was the one at my parents’ house.
“In dreams,” I told her, “I guess all stairs are your parents’ stairs.”
I know that sounds a little pretentious. I just found it interesting that my subconscious was building my dream out of bits and pieces of things I was familiar with. I was taking parts of my past with me and using them to craft my present. It was oddly comforting.
I’ve left Louisville. Finally, some would say.
But all stairs will always be my parents’ stairs.