Marooned on Michigan Highway 31, just south of an old high-school buddy’s wedding. Third out of five weddings for the year. Looks like marriage is still very much in vogue for the mid-twenties crowd. For me, the idea seems very far away, but I suppose its one of those things that sneaks up on you.
Michigan is not easy to come home to. Not enough changes. You’ve been gone; you’ve built a reputation somewhere else, a reputation no one here remembers. You’ve acquired skills and possessions that seem ridiculous in Michigan, that stern-faced and pragmatic bride. You’ve lost a little weight, fallen in love and been surprised again by heartbreak; you’ve grown quieter in crowds and more talkative in pairs, a little easier on yourself, looser with money, harder headed, blind on matters which make Michigan seem trifling. You dress differently, you cower from the childhood cold, you lean more. Meanwhile in Michigan, nothing has changed. The same old storefront decals, same leather coat still hung up by the door, with the same trinkets in the pockets, same names tumbling through the wind funnels of gossip, the same smells in each of mother’s cabinets in turn. The famous highschool couples mostly married, some with kids; the famous burger joints and bars still serving the same menus, which seem paler after countless recountings abroad. Michigan, your nephews are leaving. Your sisters are leaving. Your children wander the earth, trying to find you elsewhere and forgetting that you’re still at home.
I got snow. What I wanted. Snow like I remember: three-foot drifts, frost in the eyelashes, torn silver floating earthwards, alabaster dough squirting from under tires. I even plowed my brother’s car into a curb, which is why I’ve spent my Sunday in a white, humming motel room waiting for the new-world Sabbath to pass over. The flight I was supposed to be on is now somewhere over New Brunswick. I think of Israel and I feel homesick, which is a sort of fortunate-man’s curse, to have home multiplied so that you’re always feeling homesick for somewhere, though usually that somewhere is in memory.