Last night, I listened to the rain. Laying on my back, drops hitting the glass pane, in my empty apartment. Rolling thunder, segments of lightning, and the sporadic pattering brought me to the realization that I know no other.
A St. Petersburg storm is all I have, and I think I need to go.
See, I’ve travelled. Once I meandered through the damp alleyways of Amsterdam for three days, searching for intimate moments, but all I found was pneumonia. It’s not the same. Nothing compares to the strange torrential rainfall of a Florida summer.
Last week, I joined my friends at a bar. We sat on stools, our throats numb from the beer at the St. Pete Brewing Company. They were smiling and unphased by the passing hours.
I couldn’t stay focused.
I’m confused by alienation around the same friends who carried me out of depression, ashamed by my disinterest in the souls who helped me focus on my passions.
Last Easter, I visited my family. My father poured me a potent margarita, and we stood in the kitchen. Together we eavesdropped on the family in the surrounding rooms as they all chattered, having a good time. And even though Aunt Tilda ran off with her new husband to St. Augustine, it still felt the same, as it does every year. Same traditions, same questions, the same comforting hugs.
My friends and family support me, and the alcohol helps smooth it over. I think that might be the problem: the booze, traditions, family, friends, and rain.
I have pursued so many things, but all of them have served to make me comfortable. I feel like-in this moment-I’m drawn to the unknown. I wish to visit the place outside my comfort zone.
Yet, I over-romanticise my home. In the throes of nostalgia, I continue to say that St. Petersburg has the most beautiful skies. But I’m not looking at the ground, at the overdevelopment of Downtown, and the tarnished beauty of the intracoastal. Oh, how the graffiti murals are just painted Band-Aids for cracked brick walls.
The truth is, I wake up incomplete. I can’t shake the feeling that there has to be another way.
So, I’m going to go.
I’ll ask my friends to save their breath; their doubt is nothing I haven’t heard before. While the grass isn’t greener, it should be a different shade. When I get back we can talk about the new job, the wife and kids, the house, bank loan and big screen T.V.
I need to take a step away first, but I’ll still be listening to the rain.