So, Charleston. Charleston. …Charleston.
This was the first time I had been back in just a shade over two years, and it did me a lot of good.
It was 52 degrees when I left here on Friday morning. I took the train in, at prime commuting time, with all the commuters. I marveled for a while at how happy I was that I didn’t have to do that anymore- that awful, crowded, hour + commute on a train full of suits with dead eyes. It was nice not to be one of them anymore. Not that I ever wore a suit, but I definitely had dead eyes.
I got off the plane in Charleston in the afternoon and Leezle (y’all remember Leezle, right? My lesbian? My old roommate?) came to pick me up. We walked towards the door of the airport and I could see the Palmetto trees swaying. Leezle was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. As we walked to the door, I asked her if it was hot. She looked at me like I was crazy and said “do you see all these sweating people? Charleston has provided for your homecoming by giving us a heatwave, damn you.”
So we walked outside and it hit me- 87 degrees and breezy. I just stopped right there on the sidewalk and let it rush over me. It felt like getting a hug from your favorite person in the world (as long as that person is made of 87 degree breezes). It’s hard to explain, but something about that warmth after it’s been so cold here for weeks was healing. I felt like I grew two inches and my hair turned shiny.
The rest of the weekend was a flurry of food (Melvin’s BBQ, shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, grits again…), sweet tea (it must have been a few gallons worth, I’m sure), and dear, dear friends who I have missed terribly. All weekend I heard “We miss you! When are you coming back? Please, please come back!”
I don’t care who you are- that’s a good thing to hear.
We went to a beautiful wedding. No really:
That’s Dan and Kinsey riding off in a pedi-cab surrounded by sparklers. One of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Also, there was an open bar, which resulted in this status update on Facebook the next day:
Taylor Autumn Shelby Nothing cures a gin and tonic hangover like a big plate of shrimp and grits
And truly, nothing does.
I spent a wonderful afternoon drinking hot tea (it’s fine when you’re in a coffee shop with a KILLER AC) and playing scrabble with Leezle and Mike. Hell yes, I won.
I got a private tour of the slave cabins at Magnolia Plantation, a project that I worked on (archival research) when it was in its infancy.
I went on a Confederate Ghost Walk at Magnolia Cemetery, that was so outrageous and ridiculous I could write a who ‘nother blog post. For any of y’all that think the war is over, y’all go on this next year. It was especially telling to watch U.S. Senator Glenn McConnel (oh yes, he was part of it), call Federal soldiers criminals. You know, Federal Soldiers. The ones that fought for the United States. You know, the country that he represents as a US SENATOR. And that was only the 1st vignette. There were 11 more. It was painfully hilarious. And I think I might have legitimately hurt myself by trying to hold in the laughter.
The only bad thing about the whole weekend was when an ex-boyfriend, who I broke up three years ago (almost to the day, in fact), drank too much whisky and told me that he was still in love with me. How his current girlfriend WHO HE LIVES WITH feels about that, I can’t say. I felt horrified and awkward. It was like something that happened on TV, especially when a mutual friend walked by and gave me an evil laugh while I desperately mouthed “SAVE ME” to him. He did not. Fucker.
So I just did that nice smile and say “oh…thank you…I’m so flattered” thing and then avoided him for the rest of the night while I drank more gin.
I did end up seeing him the next day, when a bunch of us went out to dinner, and he was cool. So, whew.
It was one of the best weekends I’ve had in a LONG time. And goddamn did it make me realize where I’m supposed to be. There are good things about New England, but this place isn’t home.