A friend of mine has a little round table once a week were we work on honing our writing skills. This was my attempt for this weeks challenge, I hope you like it.
As a child, a lifetime ago, I would sit in the window seat of the house on High Street watching the world. From the comfort and safety of my perch I could see the harbor. In the fall and winter, when the leaves would thin, I could see the ships arrive in the busy port. I vowed that one day I would be a captain of a fine ship. I would dream of the places I would see on the other side of the world and wonder about the people I would meet.
I was eager to leave the security of that house on High Street, loving and hating it in nearly equal measures. It was the house my mother was mistress of, presiding over her kingdom with a grace and gentility that I was not to encounter again until I met Mrs. Wilkes, still Miss Hamilton at the time.
God rest her soul.
Charleston was a prison when I was young and now I want it to be something I suspect only exists in my mind. I want it to be a place of beauty, consecrated by adversity and risen from ash like the proverbial phoenix.
I find myself with a sudden, unwanted, understanding of my wife. I want to go home. I am afraid that I will find it all changed, utterly and irrevocably changed. How could the Charleston I remember still exist?
I condemn myself, knowing that I am a fool. Worse, I know I am an old fool. Against my will, I have become one of those men that survived the battlefield that is life and now long for the world I knew before I charged headlong into the fray.
I am lying to myself, but am too exhausted in both mind and body to care. If Charleston were so perfect, equal in reality to my concept of it in my memory, then I would have returned long ago and made peace with my people. When my father banished me, I laughed. The world was out there, wide and waiting for me to explore it. I left Charleston but in my heart, I counted my self a Charlestonian. I always have and I know I always will.
What is about that city that makes me feel like it's the only thing left to me? In that city of soft salt breezes and tradition is a city unlike any other I have ever know. I feel like many other Charlestonians do, I feel that the city belongs to me. I love her for her vitality, her changing and yet constant beauty, her determination in the face of tragedy and her readiness to rise in times of prosperity.
What is there that makes me so determined to return I ask myself as the train pulls into the station. Mother is there, Rosemary too. They won't understand why I am home, but they will make me welcome just the same. I've made my peace with my brother and expect a cool, but polite reception from him. He is of an age where the spats of childhood are long behind us and the years in front of us are numbered. They always were, of course, but when we were young we thought we would live forever.
I know I thought I would.