Tattoos on My Town

As I drive through the streets of my hometown every building and street corner I pass has a memory inked onto it. I have lived in the same city since I was five years old so every block contains years of experiences.

As I walk down my street I see countless hiding spots I used to fit into years ago and trees I used to climb. If I look hard enough I can almost see the outline of chalk foursquare courts and kickball bases. I see the windowpane my neighbors broke one day playing dodgeball and the street corner we “sold” homemade lemonade on. The gutter that ate countless balls is still across the street yet looks so much less intimidating years later. I see late nights walking in the middle of the street like we owned the world. And remember laughing to tears under the street lights until our parents called us inside. My memories will always be tattooed on my town.

As I drive the all too familiar route to my high school I remember hurried mornings shoving toast down my throat to get to class on time. The early morning, half-awake drives to hell week soccer practices while questioning why I play sports at all but, always end up on the team the next year. The triumph of driving myself to school alone for the first time and not hitting anyone or anything. I see the street corner and flashback back to dancing like crazy with my teammates while holding car wash signs inviting drivers to get a below average car wash. The nerves of driving along the soon to be familiar route to my first day of high school and the same nerves on my last drive four years later. My memories will always be tattooed on my town.

Simply walking through the downtown area floods me with cringe worthy middle school adventures. The movie theater where I went to my first Harry Potter midnight premier and years later my first Twilight premier complete with matching shirts my friends and I all made. Clandestine trips from the Rite Aid to smuggle candy into the movie theater that we never ended up finishing. A slumber party to celebrate my eleventh birthday with a surprise trip to watch “Race to Witch Mountain”. Color Me Mine dates with my mom that resulted in hideous creations she somehow keeps up on the walls. Sunday lunches after church with friends that always ended at the Baskin Robbins across the street. Countless drinks from Starbucks, which we also ended up sneaking in to the movies, and arms reeking of every scent imaginable from the Bath and Body Works next door. My eight-year old heart broke when my favorite candy store closed but it was forgotten months later when a pizza restaurant opened in it’s place. My memories will always be tattooed on my town.

Driving down the main street I see the IHOP we went to after football games. Overcrowding the tables, leaving too small tips, and rushing home before the 11’o clock curfew enforced on new drivers. I pass the Red Robin where we always met our friends on the basketball team for late night victory celebrations. Where we basically ordered the endless fries and a lemonade because we were too broke for a full meal. We would put salt in each other’s drinks and mix all the condiments into one disgusting glop then dare each other to eat it. I see the park where we took prom pictures and remember the struggle of wearing heels while sinking into the grass. We all smiled through the pain but were secretly counting down the seconds until we could take our heels off and go barefoot. I notice the sketchy restaurant where we always got late-night super fries no matter how many times we swore we wouldn’t. My memories will always be tattooed on my town.

No matter how many times I leave, whenever I come back to my town memories will always be tattooed on every street and building. I love driving around and reminiscing the good times, but they will always be there. Now I can’t wait to find a new town and ink it with more memories and new people until no street is left unmarked.

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