One of my closest childhood friends shared this picture with me a few weeks ago. She had posted it onto my personal Facebook page. Within minutes the picture started filling up with happy memories from old friends.
This "tunnel" was part of my hometown. We called it a tunnel, although it was more of an underpass. Just a piece of cement with a picture of Cochise, paying homage to the people who lived there way before us.
This place is so embedded into my memories and into my past.
As a child it symbolised joy. We would squeal in delight as my parents honked the horn for the 2 seconds it took to actually cross.
As a teenager it symbolised independence - cruising with friends on a Friday night with the music blaring. We would drive in endless circles passing the tunnel at least 20 times a night.
I'll never forget the night when we packed too many people into a silver Volkswagen Beatle and almost didn't make it over to the other side.
When I moved away it symbolised the past. The place I had grown to love but had left. No matter how many times I left, it always welcomed me back with open arms.
When I would complain and insult the town that gave me life it never judged. When I would leave, passing through it on my way out of town with promises of adventures not yet lived - it was always there smiling in my rear view mirror.
Until the day I returned - many years later and it was gone. The hole had been filled and the street had been levelled. My beloved underpass had disappeared and replaced with a modern intersection.
It was a sad realisation. Coming back to the place I had called home for so many years - and it was no longer the same; I was not the same.
There was always this magic in my memories of the place I grew up. A magic that I lost as I grew up and magic gave in to reality.
But in this moment, in this picture - the magic returned. The nostalgia that comes with a life well lived.
The joy of a child's laughter. The sarcasm in teenage angst. The pseudo-intellect only a college student poses. The compassion of adulthood.
Is there a place that you always associate with home?
Linking up with Shell for Pour Your Heart Out