I woke up early the day of my planned road trip out of Suburbia with Jason.
Perhaps my body clock had yet to adjust … perhaps I was excited to get out of my house, to get out of my county, to get out and SEE something I hadn’t seen in … well, years.
I jumped in my car around 8:30 a.m., eager to get the day started. Ten minutes later, I was at Jason’s front door, and soon after that, he and I were headed North on I-270 towards the Appalachian Mountains.
We drove along the highway, my eyes fighting with my mind — all I wanted to do was look outside the window (not at the road) as the tall trees still brandishing green leaves flitted out my window.
In America, signs that are brown indicate a point of interest. We passed a few.
“Should we go take a peak?” I asked, turning my head slightly to my tattooed friend in the passenger seat.
“Yeah, what the hell,” he responded.
So, we did.
For about 30 minutes we drove in circles, looking for a pre-Civil War farm house somewhere off the highway. We wound around mountain roads, passed by little bubbling brooks, skirted by small cliffs of rock, until we finally hit our destination.
What to do now?
There was no coffee shop to sit and marvel at its beauty.
In fact, it wasn’t all that beautiful. There, on a slight hill stood an old white barn house. In it’s day, I am sure it was something that evoked awe. But, now, we stood at a chain link fence, which gave way to a field of grass, which eventually gave way to the house.
He and I walked around the area for a few minutes, reading about the land’s history, and then hopped back in the car and on to Harpers Ferry, a national park just over Maryland’s border in West Virginia.
It felt immensly satisfying to be out of my home state. To be exploring something.
Harpers Ferry is rich with history, and to this day, people visiting the park can feel that history pulsating in the old town. The area has played a large part in America’s short story. It was the site of the arrival of the first successful US railroad. It was the site where John Brown attacked slavery. It was the site that witnessed the largest surrender of Federal troops during the Civil War. And more.
That day, it was the site where I came to terms with being home.
Sitting outside at a restaurant with Jason, overlooking the mountains and the Potomac River, I started to feel better. Not great. But better.
When he pulled out a free ticket to the Frederick County Fair, my eyes lit up.
Probably the first time they had sparkled since returning to America.
I was eager to head to the fair grounds and get in touch with my inner child.
We arrived and immediately, I was greeted with the smells of the fair — the funnel cakes and farm animals.
Growing up, I used to love the fair. In Montgomery County, there is a huge agricultural fair each year, and as a child and teen, I would go and have the time of my life.
This time was different.
Instantly, my mind flicked back to being at the feria in Barbate.
This was no feria.
We walked around for a little bit, stopping to pet the farm animals, checking out the cow auction, and then we headed back to our home turf.
Back in my bed that night, I closed my eyes and quickly found myself relishing the memories of my trip. Not the escape from Suburbia that day, but the real trip.
I wasn’t healed … yet.