There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered. Nelson Mandela
Singing with the CD, nothing on my mind,
I stopped the car for the red light
at the familiar crossroads - and a decade
traversed through my brain - like they say
your life does right before you die.
The house we lived in was one block away,
and from that intersection I could see
the drug store and donut shop we would walk to,
the bank parking lot where we found
our runaway dog one Sunday morning,
the perennial sign advertising Little League
(both of the kids played every year)
Down the road was a big green house,
formerly an Italian restaurant, where my long-ago
co-workers held a bridal shower for me,
an empty lot where the movie theater stood,
a place only for special occasions then,
the storefront where my son's bicycle was stolen,
the school building where I attended meeetings about him,
where I applied for part-time work.
At that intersection our car was rear-ended
on our morning route to school.
My daughter's head hit the windshield and she panicked
when she couldn't open the bent car door to get out,
then was mortified at the police cars surrounding us.
At the house one block away I opened
the door one April evening and met
the man of my future. Now I glance
in the rearview mirror to see the parking lot
where we'd often go to be alone.
This was the beginning of the life I would have
miles away from this intersection, from these daily views,
from that decade of my life before the children were grown,
before it evolved into memories ever-present and true,
before these crossroads were nothing but intersecting streets.