Despite a brief bout of dizziness brought on by the immensity of the American road and driving again, it wasn't long before I moved into an epic apartment with my best friend, slid back into teaching Intensive English to international students, and found a posse of summer fun friends to idle away the hours in the thick southern heat.
I also went to as many shows at the Hi-Tone that I could fit into my schedule: Lord T. and Eloise (to be covered in champagne), Jack Oblivion and the Tennessee Tearjerkers, Harlan T. Bobo, and everyone's favorite Memphis band: Snowglobe. It was the tail end of my golden age of Memphis music.
I rode my bike to the farmer's market on South Main, drank beers in the upper brothel rooms at Earnestine and Hazel's, and played trivia at The Young Avenue Deli. I walked everywhere, rarely left the "Parkways," as the midtowners put it, even explored, in detail, the ancient forest in Overton Park that some would destroy completely for more parking. I was what I always wanted to be, but I was still antsy....never content.
It was the first summer I didn't spend overseas in a few years, so I soaked it up. Whenever I found myself longing for the connection to the rest of the world, the glorious blend of cultures, I stepped out of myself while I taught at Intensive English and looked at each of my students, pictures of the world themselves, sharing in a common language. It felt like home.
I somehow lost a ton of weight from walking and cooking for myself, being too busy to eat or think. I managed to show up at my ten year high school reunion with a bangin bod, and I wore a dress I bought at Old Navy for five dollars with a pair of white Converse. I was underdressed, but still me, so it was fine. People don't tend to judge me as harshly as I assume that they do, as harshly as I judge myself.
What good is an epic apartment without epic parties? My best friend and I threw a party for her birthday, found out we had a knack for it, and threw a few more gorgeous get-togethers of like-minded individuals, recyclers, Obama voters, volunteers, gorgeous artists packed onto our 6x6 balcony like sardines. The cops came once because the volume of conversation exceeded what the neighbors could handle. It was a weekend, so they just told us to move the party inside.
The guy I was tryina hang out with at the time was giving me a little bit of a run around. That was my first mistake. Sometimes a girl has to learn the hard way that a guy is a butt. He had everyone guessing, our group of friends wandering what he was doing with three different girls, all smart enough to know better. And despite all the warnings that always come from people that mean well, I won, and I followed him all the way to a small town in Georgia to learn my lesson.
That, my friends, is how I found Georgia and began to dig in the earth again, digging and scratching, uncovering the next chapter, what it felt like to be physically strong as my mind began questioning things it never had before.
My return to Memphis was a good time, a whirlwind, but good. I kept a decent log of it starting here. Be warned, though. It begins as a day by day recovery from heartbreak. Just how it is.