Visiting one's hometown often serves as a reminder as to why you left in the first place. Binghamton, sadly, is no exception. Sure, there were high points -- spending time with my kids, working in a kitchen again, seeing old friends... But the routines are the same. No new friends made. Nothing's changed. The spiedies don't taste quite as good as I recall. The bars are full of the same desperate, glum faces.
And feeling cooped up in an area known only for being miserably overcast and spawning "The Twilight Zone", any relationship would suffer. Especially one based on nomadic, romantic adventures.
Such is the soul-sucking vampirism of this city that when Jen tearfully told me - after our umpteenth alcohol-fueled fight sparked by trivialities - that she was leaving for Chicago without me, it took almost a full day to work up the emotional wherewithal to understand I was supposed to be heartbroken.
Don't get me wrong, I was. I had to dig through the grey depression and apathetic exhaustion to find that pain, though. When I did find it (thankfully), we mended the holes and are doing pretty damn well now, thankyouverymuch.
It helps that we finally up and left Binghamton behind. If it weren't for the brilliant hospitality, patience, goodwill and energy of our dear friends at the Commune (and you know who you are), I fear that wretched city might have been the end of us. Fortunately, we narrowly escaped the Charybdis-like vortex of the Southern Tier and headed west. WEST! Literature speaks volumes of the direction's healing powers.
Next: Cleveland and Everything After