With my eyes closed and my arms out, I slowly began to turn around and around for just a moment. There’s a steady down pour of rain. I can feel it falling down on my face, I can hear the distant roar of thunder, lost already in the moment I take a deep breath. I can smell the fresh air that the storm has brought in, and suddenly I begin to lose my self. Memories from my childhood begin to flood my subconscious mind and over take all of my senses.
I’m back at home, in my rusty old barn that me, my Papaw, and my Uncle Dan built out of whatever used material we could scrape up. I can hear my horse, Thunder, nicker as he impatiently waits for me to give him the tasty treat that he knows I have brought him like I always use to do. I can hear the rain beating down on the battered and already worn tin roof. The smell the fresh cut hay from my neighbors field across the road makes the moment even more real. I can sense the slight fear of getting wet and muddy darn near all the way up to my knees because of our make shift barn having an uneven dirt foundation that would allow rain water to race through the middle of the it and flood the entrance way. I can see that it is getting dark out and I know that my granny will soon become curious as to where I had wondered off to this time. She will be expecting me to drag in and she would already be prepared for the complaining I was about to do because of the quick bath I was going to be forced to take. I can hear her saying “Don’t forget to wash your hair!” Only afterwards could I then indulge in the supper that she would have had prepared by then, and if I was lucky that was going to include her homemade buttermilk biscuits that was to die for. My grannies cooking was the best in all of the south and couldn’t a sole tell me otherwise.
So caught up in my memories , I had completely forgotten where I really was. The rain was washing away the tears that had began to flood my face. I now can’t help but to become emotional. I’m suddenly startled by the touch of someone’s hand and I quickly open my eyes. There is an officer standing beside me, “Ma’am are you okay?” he asks. I look around and notice the lit up, greenish Extended Stay USA sign and realize where I am, and it is not home. I realize that I am 1,200 miles away from home in a God forsaken City full of murders and who knows what else. I realize that I definitely am no longer that sweet innocent little child from 15 years ago. Quickly I assure the officer that I am fine, that I just felt a little lost for a moment. He kindly offers to walk me to my room. I decline the offer and make my way to the entrance of the hotel. He proceeds to follow me to the entrance and holds the door open for me. I thank him and kind of give him an awkward look. “You’re not from around here, are you?” I ask him. He hesitates and finally responds, “no Ma’am, you are correct. I am not. How did you know? ” I look at him with a slight smile on my face and say, ” That’s an easy one, not only did you call me Ma’am, you held the door open for me. Only a good ole southern boy would do that.” The officer smiled and replied ” Have a good day, Ma’am.” He then turned and walked back to his patrol car and I walked into the hotel.
As I walk through the main entrance and make my way through the lobby I can’t help but to become a bit emotional again. Hundreds of memories from my childhood continue to race through my mind and I think to my self how strange was it that during this moment of emotional distress, a handsome “southern” officer appeared out of no where, it seemed, and offered his assistance. I mean I’m sure he was at the hotel for some reason but you catch my drift. As I try and turn from the thought of the encounter and the embarrassing emotional moment that he caught me having, I continue to make my way through the lobby, and as I am about to pass the front desk I notice my new Spanish friend, Elberto that works at the hotel. At almost the same time he notices me and suddenly a concerned look appears on his delightful, tan face. I suppose he noticed the distressed look on my face. Either that or the massacre that was now probably smeared all over my face and possibly even running down my neck. Before he can speak, I assure him that everything is okay, that I sometimes become somewhat emotional when it rains and that I might have stood out in the middle of the parking lot balling like a big baby for a few seconds. Okay a few minutes. Before I tell you about my friend, you first have to understand something that is very important about him. You have to understand and know that he is the one of those type of people that is always cheerful and uplifting. You know the type. He has a very entertaining nature about him. He has that way about him that can quickly change your whole demeanor. In the good kind of way. His cheerfulness kind of rubs off on you so to speak. So just like that, I instantly cheered up a little and felt somewhat better about my current situation. “How is your day going, lovely?” he asks in a concerning but upbeat manner. He doesn’t give me time to answer before he starts telling me how his day has been, which is perfectly fine with me. I need something to distract me from my own thoughts anyway. In a exciting but frustrating voice he proceeds to explain “Girl, you will not believe every thing that has went on at this here place today! The rain must have really brought all the crazies out of the wood work. I have had to call the police not one but five times! Men beating up their wives and a group of hippies thought it was okay to smoke marijuana in the lobby! Yes in the lobby! Heck, I even caught one guy trying to pimp his girlfriend out to another customer!” I laugh little and shack my head. “Sounds like any other ordinary day here at the Extended Stay!” I jokingly say. “Come by when you get off and we will talk more if you want or we can watch netflix” I offer knowing that he will probably not come. Elberto is a huge nerd and I know that he will probably go straight to his room so he can engross himself into some video game or comic book. I’m okay with that though. It’s just another thing about Elberto that I have grown to love.
Eventually I make my way up the winding stairway to my room on the fifth floor. I make it to my room and as soon as I unlock the door and make my way in, I can immediately smell the fresh linen, I instantly know that the maid has made her way around to my room today and for this I am thankful. I begin peeling my wet clothes off piece by piece as I make my way towards the window. I know that it’s still raining fairly steady outside and I want to at least be able to embrace the sight of it. The view is remarkable at night in the city and the rain only enhances it. It kind of momentarily washing away the smog that hangs low over the entire city. Even though in it’s on way it truly is beautiful, this view from my city hotel suite does nothing for my homesickness. It only makes it worse. It makes me long to look out my window from my small county home and see the beautiful stars in the sky. See a moon hanging so low that it appears you can reach up and touch it. Its spring time now and I know that down south you can hear the whippoorwill singing and the crickets chirping. I long to wake up to a beautiful county style sunrise and see my horses grazing in their pasture and hear to hear my Papaw’s rooster crowing. I suddenly fall into an emotional trance again and begin to wonder why I am even here. Why I’m so far from home, where my heart and my family are.
It continued to rain all throughout the night and eventually my thoughts subsided and somehow I was able to fall asleep. Once again I found my self at home, in my barn, in the beautiful state of Mississippi, once again a child. I could see my dear Thunder and smell the fresh cut fields of hay. Oh, the things that I would give for this dream to be everlasting.