It seems that lately I'm more confused than ever about the idea of 'home.' For a long time this was always some sort of idea I held on a pedestal, like wherever I ended up would be a self invented home of sorts, that I would leave everything else behind as fond memory and just pick up the pieces as I moved on. Like life itself has some sort of larger plan for everyone, that home is just a mission to achieve that self-discovery that we all long for so deeply.
On this last trip to Fort Wayne I felt more at home than I've felt anywhere in a long time. Fort Wayne is no longer my home, sure. But I've found that the same things that are getting me so disgruntled in Portland are happening there too. People are changing, growing into individuals that I can't stand. People are growing, changing into people that I've newly connected with on several different grounds. When I lived there it felt like a black hole, like no form of escapism could release me from it's gravitational pull. That everything there was a waste, a failed image of what a city should be. I don't want to move back, but this last trip there allowed me to look at the city with different eyes.
People disappoint everywhere. It doesn't matter where you live, who you surround yourself with, or what occupation you hold. The disillusionment of mankind can stop following you for a second, but at the end of the day--everywhere is pretty much the same. Unfamiliar faces become friends, familiar faces become enemies, and enemies become distant memories of the past.
Dean and I got into Indianapolis around seven in the evening on Tuesday, July 10th. Winner was nearly an hour and a half late picking us up, much to our dismay since smoking anywhere on the grounds of the Indianapolis International Airport is strictly prohibited. Generally we would attempt to sneak in a few puffs here and there, but segway cops were littered about the premises. She finally arrived and the two hour journey to the Fort began. We caught up, shot the shit, and relayed the events of the the last few days since we had spoken.
When we got into Fort Wayne, we went to Peanuts to indulge in cheap beer and even cheaper wings with familiar faces. The first night in town is always one to remember. Everyone's happy, jovial, just thrilled to be in the presence of distanced friends. As the night stretched into early morning, it was time to call it quits and everyone made their way to their respective homes.
On Wednesday Chelsea came over to introduce me to her new addition. It was refreshing getting to catch up with her, to meet Guage since I had missed his inception into the world by a mere few weeks. It's refreshing visiting with someone who Fort Wayne hasn't destroyed. Seeing her grow into the happy, loving woman that she is allowed me to rekindle a few fibers of hope.
She left and that evening held my youngest sister's softball game. The girl grows more beautiful with every visit. She's smart, kind, caring, and I can see fragments of the woman she will someday be. To call her my sister is a privilege.
After the game we found ourselves on the typical mission to close down Corner Pocket Pub. This is our general platform of drunkenness when we come back to visit because of its familiarity and proximity to the center of town. We met up, drank too much, and spent the evening laughing and carrying on with those closest to us.
On Thursday I finally had the opportunity to visit with my mom for the first time since I had been back. We went out for dinner and drinks and much to her surprise ended up closing down the restaurant. Dean, Abbey, her boyfriend, myself, my mom, and Moshboy with a handful of his buddies all partook in the endeavor, even succeeding in convincing one of the waitresses on staff to sit down and have a beer with us.
We once again ended up at Corner Pocket, everyone else getting sloppier than myself at this point. Upon leaving the bar, it was decided that we would be crashing at Moshboy's that night. We made a pit stop at the closest Taco Bell and succeeded in ordering everything that wasn't available at that hour. It made us all look like assholes, sure, but in our current state we really couldn't care much.
We arrived to the house with promises of more beer and records. There was more beer, sure, and records as promised. Moshboy proceeded to attempt to play some Leatherface (albeit at the wrong speed) and shortly thereafter went to bed. My eyes became heavy as well and upon inflation of an incredibly awkward air mattress, I was passed out. Dean stretched long hours into the night drinking with Moshboy's roommates and I woke up at the early hour of 8 to find Dean nearly impossible to wake up.
Friday afternoon we had a lunch date with my dad at the Hall's Factory, home of the absolute greatest Bloody Mary I've had to date. We got the family together and sat at the restaurant, drink after drink until my gut was about to explode. Here's proof that this is probably the best Bloody Mary in existence.
That evening Dean had prior engagements for Moshboy's wedding rehearsal and the dinner immediately following. I joined up with Colleen over at her apartment for some chain smoking and record listening. There was a block party going on at the city's famous Calhoun Street. It was a benefit for some charity or another and with a five dollar cover, patrons would be eligible for dollar beers all night. The block party wasn't at all our scene, but it was an inexpensive way to prepare ourselves for the evening to come.
The rehearsal dinner was held at Pint & Slice which is on Calhoun street, the location of the block party. After they finished up, we all met up at the party for a while before Colleen and myself went back to her apartment to prepare for the show at the Brass Rail that night. The Dopamines, Lipstick Homicide, and a handful of local favorites were playing that night. The Rail is always a place I like to stop by at least once while I'm back in town. It gives me a chance to catch up with people I may have forgotten to contact or people that I've even forgotten about. It's never a dull moment and the drinks are cheap and poured rather heavily. It's always a win-win.
We left Colleen's and a baseball game was underway. This was our scene as we were walking to the Rail.
The drinks kept flowing and the music was loud. The feeling of the place swelled with joy and debauchery, a scene that couldn't make me happier.
|My favorite shitty restroom on the planet.|
|Yeah, that's Caleb and I. We were drunk.|
|And that's Caleb and I again. We're still drunk.|
Surrounded by friendly faces and drunken slurs, Amber's eventual arrival due to adverse circumstances back at her home in Indianapolis, was a welcome sight. She joined us, happy to be away from the situation that was bringing her down and gave the drunken a chariot home.
The next day held a visit to my grandma on my dad's side and Moshboy's wedding. The night held the typical boozing that goes hand in hand with our group, but on this occasion we all looked nice. That was more or less the only difference.
|He cleans up nicely.|
|And then there's this.|
|And need I mention this?|
After the reception we went over to Colleen's with JBusch due to its close proximity to the reception hall. We changed into our street clothes and proceeded to the Thirsty Camel to annihilate their dance floor in our true drunken fashion.
Yet again, the night grew long and we went back to the apartment to pass out. The next morning, Amanda and Josh picked us up to have breakfast over at her mom's apartment. It was great getting to catch up and see how they were all doing. She's one of those friends that no matter how much time passes, it never really seems like any has. We just pick up right where we left off, a mark of true friendship.
Her mom dropped me off after Amanda and Josh had to make their way back to Peoria. I relaxed over at my dad's house for a while and then Dean and I went over to my mom's house for wine, munchies, and a viewing of True Blood (much to Dean's dismay). The rush and pace of the week made me happy for a night just to simply relax with my mom. During the past few times that I've gone back for visits, it seems that she and I never really get time to relax together. This was long overdue and truly one of the highlights of my week.
The time neared for my mom to go to bed, so Winner, Amber, and a friend of theirs picked up Dean and I for a surprise excursion. Before I came back into town, Winner made it clear to me that I needed to set a night aside to check out some awesome place that she had just found. The entire time, Dean and I were under the impression that it was some bar out in the middle of nowhere. I was excited at this prospect, certain that a laid back evening at some shithole was just what we needed. Turns out, we had our facts mixed up.
Upon getting into the car I said to Winner, "This place better fucking have air conditioning."
Her friend in response said, "You haven't told them?"
"Told us what?" I asked, confused already as to what was going on.
"I don't want you guys to be disappointed, but what kind of experience have you had with trains?"
I wasn't sure if I wanted her to go on or if I wanted her to stop, but I was ready for a surprise. I didn't ask any further questions and just waited for us to get to our destination.
About twenty minutes later, we rolled onto a dirt road and passed over a wooden bridge.
"Here we are," said Winner.
We piled out and grabbed our bottles of booze and walked over to the bridge. It was a wooden bridge passing over train tracks. The night sky was the clearest I'd been able to see in years. Each star looked down on us with growing intensity as the train tracks gawked up at us, waiting. We saw a light off in the distance and Winner made sure we quickly got ready for what was to come. We packed all of our things into my purse--shoes, bottles, phones, smokes, lighters. She showed us where to sit, our feet dangling off of the side of the bridge and resting on a ledge.
The light on the front of the train grew brighter, the bridge started shaking. She told us then that the ledge we were resting our feet on cleared the top of the train by about a foot, if not less. The train passed under our feet, a rush of heat as the front of the train passed us. With each train car, difficulty in keeping our feet firmly planted on the ledge ensued. I had more adrenaline pumping through my veins than I had when going down the first hill of a tall roller coaster.
The train finally ended and Dean said, "Well, Winner--You've outdone yourself."
In the time we were there, another train passed through and we relived the experience of the first one. The combination of the night sky, booze, the aesthetic of the environment, and good company made this one of the most memorable parts of our trip.
Winner had to be up for work early so we left and were dropped back off at my dad's house. We fell asleep with train tracks weaving through our dreams.
Dean left the next day, Monday. He went with his family to say his goodbyes while I still had a day left to say mine. My last two days in town were geared toward relaxation and hanging out with my family as much as possible. That night I had one last dinner with my mom, hung out with dad, Allie, and the kids.
Tuesday morning I had coffee and cigarettes with Coby, a friend of mine who over the last year has dealt with some adverse circumstances. It was great getting to see him finally have his life together and to actually be happy for once. Happiness was never something that came easy to him, and I think that his life finally told him that it was time to take the necessary strides to get those few steps closer to actually finding contentment.
I think it was getting to see him, getting to know that everything will eventually be okay, finally understanding that not everything is a be-all-end-alll, made me so conflicted about the idea of home. He was set to move to Portland about a year ago. He needed to find change, to find himself, to get out of the situations that were so heavily bringing him down. But he didn't end up doing it, and I'm glad that he didn't. Moving somewhere new shouldn't be looked at as escaping. Sure, it might make things better in the beginning. Being removed from your comfort zone can teach a person a lot. You learn to be resourceful in a new environment, you learn to make new friends, and you learn that not everything is meant to be cut and dry. But he took the steps to learn those things right in his hometown.
It didn't take moving somewhere new for him to finally tap into that voice of reason. It didn't take a new environment to make him see all of the things that he was doing wrong. By getting rid of the trash, removing the tumors of his existence, and by finally making an effort to make his life better--he was able to do all of those things on his own.
So from here on out, I challenge myself to do the same. There's a reason we meet the people we do, there's a reason we lose contact with the people we do, and there's a reason we end up wherever it is that we end up. It's up to all of us, individually, to discover where we need to be.