Friday, May 21, 2010

The Perfect (Almost) Ending

I'll admit that since I've landed in Florida I've felt a mixture of "it's nice to be able to relax in a familiar place" and "gosh, I really would rather be back in L.A." For the first time that I've come back here, I've been ready to leave. Maybe it's been the unbearable combination of summer's heat and humidity that have made it impossible for a fair skinned girl (who didn't have time to properly fake and bake beforehand) to endure more than 3 hours in the shade, with sun block. It could be that I simply had too much activity in California between sightseeing and school visits that a week sitting on the beach seemed unfulfilling and boring. Or the fact that I'm finally ready to move on to other dreams and this place has simply lost its charm. Maybe it's because I came to say good-bye to a piece of my life and myself that I've been trying to hold onto, that I thought I lost.

Last evening I had dinner with an old co-worker from Disney, who became one of my good friends during the time I lived here. We're the kind of friends who went years without talking, but due to the marvelous mass appeal of FB, have reconnected, and each time we see each other it is as if time hasn't passed. Six months ago, when I was here, I made that same drive through downtown Tampa to connect onto I-4 that takes you through a portion of Central Florida's interior into the world famous city of Orlando. I passed the same sights I saw then and the sights I used to see twice on my daily commute. I passed by the exits for Lakeland, one of my former homes, and smiled knowingly at the landmarks just off the Interstate. I recalled the good times I had here and the not so good times, but most of all, I remembered that I got my answer to my question six months ago.

Back in November, as I was driving on that same interstate numbered "4," inside I asked whether I should come back to Florida or pursue my dreams in Los Angeles, like I had always really wanted. Not more than five seconds later, a black pick-up truck sped past me with a license plate of California on the back. Coincidence maybe, but anyone who has lived here knows that while you may see quite a few out of state tags, they're almost always from North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia, or New York. And you certainly don't see very many traveling towards a backwoods, sleepy commuter town like Lakeland. I guess I wasn't quite convinced, because I had to come back here. This time I got the same answer before and after I arrived. Only a little louder and firmer this time.

Still, on my last full day here, I couldn't help but admire the scenery around me. I saw what made me fall in love with this place at twenty-two and realized that it will always be a part of me. I never really lost anything because a piece of my heart will always be here and I can always return. Who wouldn't want to jump into a scene of lush green grass, picture perfect postcard palm trees, warm white sand beneath your toes, teal green water and pink-yellow sunsets? Like the seagulls that fly in circles above the coastline without a care in the world, intermittently dunking their heads in a splash of ocean, this place brings a sense of peace and playfulness you can't find anywhere else. It was a great place to learn and discover and more than right at the time. It was home and somewhere deep inside it will continue to remain that way.

The difference between all the other times I've come back and now is that I no longer feel the lump in my throat as I realize it's time to go. I'm not letting go because I don't have to. Like the sun that I watched go down behind the ocean tonight, I'll never really leave. This place is a part of my history, a part of my soul, a part of who I am. And that can never truly be lost.


  1. I love synchronistic stories. That black pick-up truck was most certainly a sign. :-)

    It's interesting how places do become a part of you. Because of that they will never leave, you even if you leave them. I feel that way about Nova Scotia. I lived there all my life until 11 years ago. I miss it, but now Whittier feels like home and has become a part of me. When I first got here I used to say I had to walk this place into me...and so I have.

    I'm glad you feel that your next move is right. Good luck.

  2. True, sometimes it takes an instant and other times a place has to grow on you. Thanks for the good luck! Or, as I used to say once upon a time..."with faith, love, and a little pixie dust!" =)