You Can’t Go Home
There are things you just can’t do in life. You can’t beat the phone company, you can’t make a waiter see you until he’s ready to see you, and you can’t go home again.
It was the thing my mother used to say to me every time I complained about her decision to move the family (minus my three much older brothers) from New Jersey to Florida, and expressed my burning desire to return to the Garden State. Even many years, many friends, a husband and a child later, I wanted to go “home”.
It’s too fucking hot. The seasons don’t change. They call this shit pizza? These are NOT real bagels (it’s all about the water they use, you know). There are no diners, and there’s no “real” Italian food. Everyone drives like my ass. Do these cock blockers not know what a fast lane is? Why in the fuck do strangers feel the need to talk to me? Am I wearing a neon sign that says, “Please, tell me your life story. I want to know.” The humidity is soul sucking. I hate snow birds. I miss fall and turtlenecks and snow. All of our family is in New Jersey. All of my other friends are there, the ones I had to leave behind.
So fourteen years, one marriage and one baby later, my husband and I compromised by moving to North Carolina. The seasons changed. I got to watch the leaves change, see a little snow, and wear turtlenecks, but that was it. The food was worse. I found it incredibly hard to form any real friendships with any of the women I met. Everyone was exceedingly nice, but there was always something preventing the click. They were just “different”. The cost of living was lower, but so was the pay. We started drowning in debt. It was time to put the house up for sale. The time to compromise was over. It was time to go home.
We moved to New Jersey a year and a half after leaving Florida. My husband and I found jobs almost immediately. I was back to driving like an animal with people who know how to use the fast lane and avoiding small talk with strangers at all costs. I got back my diners, my “real” Italian food, my real bagels, and my family. But my old friends were scarce, and my marriage fell apart.
It’s been nearly ten years since I moved back to New Jersey. I have a beautiful home with a beautiful view.
I’m in a stable, loving and secure, albeit slightly suspect second marriage, and my daughter is thriving. I have a nice car and a lot of other nice THINGS.
My network of friends is shit. There’s too much snow now.
The winters are getting (FEEL) longer and longer. I think I’ve developed SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) as winter has become a vampire that drains my will to live. The traffic is unreal. I hate my mind numbing job. I miss my mother who got left behind in the move. I miss the sun on my face. I miss being close to the warm ocean. All but one of my forever friends, my girls my squad, my TRIBE are in Florida. I’m swimming in a sea of malcontent.
I have not known true happiness since I left Florida. My ex-husband once told me that he didn’t think I would ever be happy no matter what I did or who I was with, but I know he’s wrong. I know I’d be happy again if I could just go home.