Before someone gets his or her knickers in a twist, I referred to my apartment in Omaha, Nebraska as ground zero well before 9/11. After that day, I referred to my apartment as my tomb. If I had been present during the break-in over Memorial Day weekend of 2004, it would have probably been an appropriately grim name.
The following was written after spending a few days in my old stomping grounds. I was doing my best to avoid that particular building, but fate had other plans.
I am driving through the streetlamp lit city. The road is closed. It was open two days ago. I don't know what has changed this. Road construction or perhaps a major accident? The detour leads me to another road that I am no stranger to. I know the cracks and bumps intimately. I have been drawn to it once again. Searching for the sight, I am unsure of what I'll find.
I travel further and it comes into view. A looming mass of brick and wood. I am shocked it still exists. My shock is quickly replaced with a slam of memories and with them a variety of emotional emotions. Names shoot through my mind...home away from home...ground zero...my tomb...my place. Now a new name makes my acquaintance...the mausoleum of my former self.
I drive by and recall the outstanding ups. Spending time with family and friends there. Once falling to the floor from laughing so hard. The ups reintroduce me to the serious downs. The hopeless nights of mourning and the mornings of helpless thoughts.
I shudder as I leave the mausoleum in reflection, just a distant spot in the mirror. I catch my eye as I look back and wonder. Have I changed from the person I used to be when I lived there? If so, is it subtle? Is it grand? Was it a conscious decision or a natural change due to circumstance?
I shake my head and laugh quietly, resisting the urge to get into yet another stimulating conversation with myself. I then realize the road of my former self is closed. I am who I am now and I wouldn't want to be exactly the same person I was before. As I continue to drive through the hazy city streets, I grin with the knowledge that I just answered my own pondering.
John L. Harmon
For the record, the mausoleum of my former self has long since been torn down, but I carry him and the memories of that place with me, along with all the other former Johns, because they are a part of me, no matter who I am now, until the end.
P.S. During the early days of this blog, I posted one of the original tales from the freakboy zone e-mails titled THE PROCESS. Please click and enjoy...