Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Wilmington, NC

I've been going to Wilmington, North Carolina at least once a year since I started college back in 2004.  It may be one of my favorite cities in NC (if you know me you are already nodding saying "it's because of the beach, isn't it?") and I've often imagined living there--as I did one summer in 2006.  I almost stayed there this summer actually.  Sadly it has lost some of its appeal as most of the people I know there have moved elsewhere and begun lives anew.

Downtown overlooking the river.

Still, it always has the memories.  Places remind me of my past more than anything else.  When I travel to someplace that has been a part of my life over so many years, it is like living the memories all over.  Memories I thought I had long forgotten.

They come back like a flood as I pull off highway 17 into downtown.  A different way then I've ever come before.  As soon as I hit the familiar crawl, my mind is back wandering the night though it's barely past noon to the eye.  Blue Post and its collection of friendly bouncers all twice my size.  Slice of Life which I could have sworn only served late night pizza and a wicked cheap lunchtime special.  Turn down market and head toward the hotel I will be staying at with my family for memorial day and I can't help but remember what the streets look like in the dark, in a haze.

I spent the whole weekend enjoying talks with my brother and eating good food with my family.  But I also spent it reliving old times and past friends.  Bonfires on the beach.  Surfing the waves.  The fireworks over the river.  Parties and drunken walks home.

The people you leave behind when moving from place to place are never really gone.  Sometimes it just takes a short trip to kick-start the memory.  And maybe an email or phone call to get some help filling in some of the black spots.