How do you spend three months in a place, and have it change your life?

How do you meet people that you never knew before in that place, and for 12 weeks exchange pieces of your hearts that will keep you connected for the rest of your life?

How do you leave that place without leaving a piece of yourself there?

Yesterday was beyond difficult. And it was as easy as anything I’d ever done. It was at times awkward and uneasy, yet it was like going home. It was filled with faces unseen in 13 years…without a moment missed. It was forever goodbyes. And forever I love you’s.

And as I drove away, leaving my very own trail of tears across the three hour drive, I thought, I wish…I WISH I had known then how special that summer was so that I could have been MORE present. So that I could have lived each day better and bigger. I could have made MORE memories and held on tighter…and then I realized that really? That’s impossible. Because we did. We few, we couldn’t have lived brighter had we tried. It’s the exact reason those memories are so indelible, and the ink still so vivid. We shared our lives. We shared our pain. We shared our hearts in that town with those people.  And they shared theirs with us. Forever connected. Footprints on our hearts. WE WERE HERE.

Our friend, Choogie, said to Mike and I as we were at the gravesite, “that’s so and so. remember him? he did bla bla bla. That’s so and so. he’s the cousin of bla bla. Remember him?”

Some names I knew. Mike knew more, as he was there 3 times to my 1 for the summer drama. I told Choogie, that I really, just remembered us. We few. To which he responded,  ” so many come into our circle for such a short time and we forget. But there are those, we never forget. Always in our circle.”

As I drove away, Mike heading East, I going West. . . leaving Boyd there as I have done every single time…those words were with me.

Always in our circle. Merely miles apart. We are here.

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