Tuesday, June 5, 2012

to athens


i wish i were a great writer, i would write athens, my beloved city, a letter, and athens would know all that is in my heart. it would be a love letter at its core, but as all great love affairs go, our relationship has been passionate and tumultuous, so it would be more complicated. in fact, to really say everything it would have to be a love letter, a thank you letter, a farewell letter, a letter of apology, and ultimately a break up letter. after all, i am leaving you, and it's not just because my husband got a better job. what i mean to say is, it's not just me, it's you, too. and i love you, so it is personal.  


but i don't have the time or energy to make it a really good letter. i want it to be the kind that gets folded up, carried around, unfolded, read and reread. instead I'm just going to scratch a few notes on a napkin, spill a little coffee, and leave.


part of me wants to write my letter as a series of lists. a "best of," if you will. some things are simple... my favorite art dog: the one in front of georgia power; favorite bar: little kings. but that just skims the surface. would it be wrong to make a "worst of" list as well? worst hangover, worst boyfriend, worst job loss...  


it is strange, but a big part of what's on my mind are the ghosts. not the people i have hugged goodbye. not the bar or restaurant I made sure to go to one last time. it's the ones I haven't seen, the people to whom I said goodbye long ago. where are you now and why are you haunting me? it's the things that I said, regrets, moments that I let slip by. leaving this city means i am leaving those memories, closing the door, moving on for good. 


and it is bittersweet. i've been here for over a decade. i've been here longer, by far, than any other city. i want to say that i am sorry, and i'm embarrassed, and please, and thank you, and you're welcome. i want to say that i liked you, that i miss you, that i'm glad you are gone, that I'm glad i am leaving, that i remember the time, that you were important. 


most of all, i want to say thank you. you shaped me, tore me down, built me up, shook me up, allowed me to try many versions of myself. 


and now that i am here, is it too obvious to say thank you for my beautiful family? thank you clover street and mrs. moon and fun friday and siblings. thank you nowhere bar for my first drunken kiss with the lovely man who would become my husband (and for willie nelson in the jukebox). thank you little kings for being the perfect place to make our commitment to one another binding. thank you indiana avenue. thank you georgia avenue. thank you uga. thank you big pregnant belly and midwives and madrona and new friends. thank you king avenue for the longest drive home, 12 houses down the street, from the hospital with our hearts on our sleeves, mama and papa as vulnerable as that 2 day old baby. 


thank you athens. i love you. i will miss you.  


yours truly and most sincerely,
helen


p.s. fight to the bitter end over trees even though i make fun of you for it.

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i love this song and the sappiness of it mimics my current feelings perfectly. willie nelson's music is a huge part of my athens sound track. on a separate note, i'm dying to get david to a concert... 


4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. thanks hope! i'm so glad we got to spend a few saturdays with you at the treehouse before taking off!!

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