A Love Letter to Orlando

Why do we make the choices we do? I have to keep reminding myself I made the decision to come back to Maryland and finish my degree because I cared about myself. I'm doing this for me. Because my passion for theatre should come first. Because whenever it is that I die, I want to be able to say that I tried. What if I'd stayed there? I'd felt like I was fully myself when I was there. When we'd ask strangers in the liquor aisle what kind of white wine we should try. When I'd sit in the grass with my cheap beer and make friends with dogs and the musicians that played earlier. When we'd make 2 A.M. trips to the Wendy's attached to the gas station just to have a change of pace. When we jumped over the waves and I struggled to keep the both of us afloat.

I miss complaining about the "you're-ruining-my-vacation" moms. I miss crying on my back porch when the world suddenly became more violent. I miss leaping out of our beds just to run to the bus stop in hopes of catching a Charzard. I miss listening to your family yell over each other and the TV. I miss waking up to our coffee on our porch with your ridiculous dancing. I miss feeling your hand on my leg as you drove me home. I miss knowing that when I came home I'd always trip over your work shoes. I keep running these scenes through my head hoping I can make them fade a bit, just so they don't sting when I think about who, and where I am again.

And don't get me wrong, I like myself as a person. But I wane in comparison to the wild-haired girl that wore my skin. Why does life give us these beautiful people and these short, shared stories if they're just going to make everything else we do feel small? Insignificant? Flat?

I can't help but imagine my life if I had stayed; if that phone call had ended differently. And the one thing I keep landing on- is my career. I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have now if I had stayed. I would've had my path set, if I continued calling those flat roads my home. But here, I'm unsure where I'm going next. I'm not sure who's going to be introduced into my story, and who may leave. And as much as that scares me, it excites me. Because just as everything in Florida went, nothing worthwhile is expected.

You're never expecting to hate the company that fueled your dreams as a kid. You're never expecting to make such meaningful friendships in a houseful of strange girls. You're never expecting to fall in genuine love within a few hours of knowing a person. You're never expecting to miss home as much as you do, but simultaneously love where you are more than you're willing to admit.

I'm excited to be terrified. And as hard as I try to stifle the continuous heartbreak of missing the past "me", past "yous" and past "us", I wouldn't give up the vibrant memories for the world. I can only hope to make moments memorable enough in the future that I will one day be able to look back on them with the same sort of contradictory feelings as I have now.


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