Saturday, April 21, 2012
I have a love hate relationship with Florida. Every time I go and drive along its ironed highways, past strip malls and lazy aisled grocery stores, my eyes roll back and I find that itching desire to run, run away from its oppressiveness. And then: a delicate humid scent mixed with brine and sweet blossoms passes over me as I step out of the car near the bay. My skin loosens its grip in the sun’s heat and I soften to the sound of a mourning dove’s echo lost in the mangroves. I want to not like Florida, for all its years of anguish, but I can’t. I sit at a red light on Dixie Highway in wonder over the beauty of a jet black man leaning on a lime painted wall by the side of the road. A lizard runs across the curb. In my rearview mirror the afternoon storm is coming in bruising the sky and lightning flashes. Wetness hangs in the air, the back of my neck all sweaty like and I find myself slipping into a southern drawl. This place inhabits me, yes it does, whether I like it or not.