I was terrified to go back. Beyond anxious to be in the place I had created a beautiful life and then left to pursue other dreams. I'd have to face memories I packed away in the furthest corners of my mind. I'd have to sit on the rocks out back along the river, alone. I'd have to be there, without him. A place I only knew, because of him.
I cried the majority of the drive up. I calmed down once in the company of a close friend. And then it just came in waves as the weekend passed, as I visited with old friends and reminisced of times spent over the years. I welcomed the memories of the dinner parties we'd host, drinks on the lake, the sunsets, jam sessions in the nitro in the Barnes and Noble parking lot, forts built in our living room, Summer nights out back on the rocks with an ice cold Long Trail in hand, bonfires at Leddy, waterfall hunting and camping adventures, conquering Mt. Mansfield and Camel's Hump, late-night creemee runs, the list goes on and on. I welcomed them, basked in them and ultimately sent them off downstream. I came to confront my fears, but more importantly, ultimately let them go.
I'm confident I would never have lived in Vermont if it weren't for him. Not a day goes by I don't ache for the life I had. Ache for what I took for granted. But I'm filled with gratitude that it happened. I wouldn't know some of the closest people in my life today if it weren't for moving my life there.
One thing is for sure. The life we built was surely ours. And that's okay. It was magic and adventurous and some of the best years of my life. But moving forward, it's mine. As much as I wish he could, he doesn't get to be apart of it anymore.
Turns out, you can go home again.