I’m on vacation in Fort Lauderdale. As it turns out, a friend from DC was also here for a long weekend. Since we arrived at the airport together, we decided to grab dinner and to see the sites. If it is accurate to say this city has sites.
I lived in Fort Lauderdale from 2008 to 2010. I actually hated living here. I had my heart broken and life upended here. But, for some reason, I love coming back for vacation. I get excited every time I feel the humid breeze and smell the salt air. There is something tactile and visceral about returning to this place.
Pablo and I landed around 9pm, so it was quick and easy pizza for diner. We then headed to Wilton Drive, the center of gay life in the city. We had a few glasses of wine at the Naked Grape, where I used to work. And then I gave him a quick driving tour of the strip before heading home.
I did not see anything new. But I did see this city through different eyes. I experienced that mix of nostalgia, loss, and yearning that comes from remembering a past both painful and pleasant. I waxed on about places as if they were photographs in a scrapbook, touching them and remembering the whole range of emotions and experiences they signify. I am who I am today because of all that hurt and happiness.
Who doesn’t love the sun and sand? But for me they burn inwardly in a sanctuary where my memory keeps vigil for a life broken and made new. God, I love and hate this place. And then I love it again.