This trip back to Connecticut was a little different than the one I experienced back in July, when I returned for a wedding. Feelings that I experienced last January as I was leaving the state came back to me, probably because I was in the same car and driving and all that. When I left last year, I knew I would be back to visit, especially since many of my closest friends continue to reside there, but I never expected to feel the way that I did.
It really hit me as I was driving around and showing Billy all the elements of my Connecticut life, the place where I spent the majority of my time during the ten years that I lived there. The only place we didn’t end up going was UConn, though the though had crossed my mind. As we drove by place after place, I felt parts of my life deleted forever, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
Both of the Blockbuster stores that I worked at are no longer around, which were places that I spent 35+ hours a week shortly after first arriving in Connecticut. The KB Toys, my first job in Connecticut, has long been gone, though I don’t feel like that job was really anything other than something to do for a few months while trying to find my way in the state.
Springville Mill Apartments still stand obviously, and though I lived there for over four years, they never truly felt like a home…just some place that I lived. The place that was supposed to be my home, my condo right around the corner, is now occupied by someone else, which made me sad for some reason. Had it been empty, I don’t think I would have felt as bad as I did, but because it appeared that someone was there, it made me a little sad.
Towards the end of last year, there was part of me that felt like returning to Utah might have been a mistake, that I should have went back to Connecticut to try and make my life there again. But then I remembered that it truly had stopped being a home for me when I left for Virginia in July 2011, if not when I left for Iraq in 2009. Any other time spent there after this time was just me “living” there, with home having evaporated for various reasons.
Is Utah truly “home” for me? I’m not 100% sure yet. There are some things that I think need to happen for me to stay for the long haul in the state of my birth. However, I will say that it is the closest I have felt to being home in a long time, though at times I still feel like a visitor. Hopefully, this will change over the next few years.
This is not to say that I don’t enjoy the friendships from Connecticut in my life. Albert, Anthony, and Shawn filled my Wednesday night with something that I have missed. Catching up with Corey on Friday was great, and I still am amazed how far he has come from being that knucklehead kid that wouldn’t show up to drill over 8 years ago. Dinner with Sarah and Stella was a good time as well, though my brother may have been a little unprepared for everything. Finally, Hillary and Jon welcomed me into their home and we talked for a few hours about things, and I genuinely enjoyed myself.
These people, and many more that I may have missed on this trip, are the reason that I will continue to return to visit. There will always be a small part of my heart in Connecticut because of people like these, people that help me see beyond my reasons for leaving if only for a few days.
Until next time…