Two years ago, nearly to the month, I was sitting on a barstool in Lefty's bar at the Austin airport. I'd left Austin two months earlier and moved to New York, and this had been my first visit back. I was about to board a plan bound for New York once again.
I had a glass of wine in front of me, my cell phone pressed to my ear, and tears streaming down my cheeks. I would have given anything to be able to run away from the barstool, the airport, and my return flight.
Subsequent visits became easier. I still loved and missed Austin, but the pull of staying lessened and eventually disappeared. New York, and my boyfriend, became my real life, and Austin became a once upon a time.
And then, two years later, life imploded.
I was single for the first time since I was 25. I was a month from turning 28. My relationship - my co-habitating relationship - was over, and I didn't know what to do. Something told me to go home. And so, dipping into savings, I booked a ticket.
Between that day and the day of my trip, I started to pick up the pieces. I found a new place to live. I went through Denial, Anger, Bargaining, and Acceptance on a daily basis. I tried to reassemble my life into some recognizable form.
Last Friday, I flew to Austin.
And now, two years later, I am sitting on that same barstool at Lefty's. I am a different person now. And once again, I am drinking a glass of white wine. My cell phone is not pressed to my ear, because I know that if it were, tears would be streaming down my face.
I want to stay Home.
In a few minutes, I'll board the plane bound for New York. I'll stare silently out of the window as my mind works furiously to generate fantasy after far-fetched fantasy of ways I'd get to stay in Austin forever.
Eventually, this feeling will start to fade. I refuse to ignore it, to bury it completely this time around.
It's time to start thinking about going home for good.