With or Without Me

Last week I headed down to Wilmington with my youngest daughter–I’d had such a hankering to go down and finally we had a day warm enough to allow for walking around. Every time I cross the bridge over the Cape Fear River and see Wilmy glistening and beckoning in the sun, my soul heaves a sigh–it is such a beautiful little city and my love for it has never diminished.

First on our agenda was to return to my former neighborhood and poke around. The railings on the front porch of my house had been changed, but I was happy to see the house well-cared for and tended. We walked over to my favorite cemetery and enjoyed the history and headstone names and Spanish moss dripping before heading downtown.

How much changes in a mere nine months! We drove by what had been an empty lot on one of the sketchier streets I used to pass along on the nineteen block walk from my house to the riverfront; now a gas station was under construction. I was pleased by that, but dismayed to discover that one of my favorite downtown eateries had shut down. I have fond memories of appetizers and fine beer while perched out on their miniature two-person balconies overlooking the water, the sun beating down on us as we ate. Today the water is being chopped by the still brisk spring wind. I’m watching the small boats fight it, the passengers’ heads damn near snapped off their bobble necks as the boats slam down off of each crest.

I’m melancholy that the restaurant is gone and ponder how life moves on with or without us. Even as I sit here and write, the world exists in Málaga, in Lisbon, in Panama City without my eyes to witness. Each world that I inhabited for a brief time continues in my absence.

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