Tomorrow I drive home to Florida.
Well, not home, home.
But I’ll be back in the state where I spent the majority of my life.
The palm trees will welcome me as they always do
when I cross the big green sign on I-95.
And the sun will be brighter there than it is anywhere else.
Because it always is—there are no hills or mountains to block the shine.
When I get out of my car, the salt will hit me first.
Initially, it will invade my nostrils
Eventually I’ll taste it on my lips.
It will work its way onto my skin
And creep into my pores.
And then I’ll know I’m home.
I’ll be home tomorrow, but I won’t be home.
It changed when I left 25 years ago.
It’s a slightly duller color.
It’s just a little quieter.
And it’s tinged in shades of black and white memories of a childhood long left behind.
I’m driving home tomorrow, but I’ll be alone.
My family will stay behind in North Carolina
And I will walk the beach alone.
I will search for shark’s teeth, I will hop over beached jellyfish
I will avoid getting tangled in the seaweed
And I will sit and stare and let the rhythmic sounds of waves calm me back down.
From the tsunami of my last two years.
About the Author
Brian Kissel is an Associate Professor of education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. His focus is writing instruction. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, Hattie and three kiddos: Charlie, Ben, and Harriet.