Just Driving By

Three and a half hours of road stands between my house and where I grew up. I used to feel like I had memorized every bump in the road from driving that route so many times. My driving home routine was nearly seamless- something I had perfected.

1. I can sip my coffee on the drive down, but not beforehand to avoid needing a rest stop.

2. 1 full water bottle will do, but don’t plan on drinking it until close to the end.

3. Snacks are a necessity- begin eating about an hour and 15 minutes in.

4. Take note of where I can stop to use the bathroom if absolutely necessary. Until then, blast music on my driving playlist to distract myself as long as possible.

Today I opened my sleepy eyes to the sight of familiar exit signs. Out of curiosity, I searched on Maps how far we were from my hometown- 25 minutes. I’ve done this drive so many times that it should be nothing to me by now. But on this day, it felt a little different. We were just driving by. Just driving by. How do you just drive by the place that raised you and holds 20+ years of memories?

I could feel my heart pull as we continued on. I started to think about how far I was from specific people and places… what are they up to right now? What if I just showed up? But things are very different now- this place isn’t my home anymore. Instead, it’s a distant memory that I’ll always keep close. As we continued on our drive, I closed my eyes once more and let the bumps of the road rock me back to sleep.

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I’ve had the exact same thought about going back to my college. All that I knew and the patterns I made aren’t quite the same anymore, and my family wouldn’t connect to that heart pull, so we kept on driving. Safe travels!


  2. This post brought tears to my eyes–perhaps because just yesterday I was in the area near where I grew up and was so tempted to take a detour into my old neighborhood….but didn’t. I know that “heart pull”. I love how you contrast your very specific, detailed knowledge about the entire drive with your current situation. Thanks for a beautiful articulation of what’s in my heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a beautiful piece that is deceptively simple. We are amused by your bladder calculations! But then we relate to the realization that that place is no longer home. Now we just drive by. I feel this way about where my parents lived out their last years- I drove there so very many times, for so many reasons, and now I just pass by. It is real and also metaphor.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I sure hope you weren’t driving =)
    I’m grateful for this, I have a different perspective since I’m living where I grew up, but I definitely understand the sentiment.
    Also, your snack and drink notations are completely legit!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love hearing your thoughts here and wonder where you are from? Wonder about your mother and your father. How many brothers and sisters. Were you free and alive there? Are you completely different from who you are now? What is the SAME? (if anything).
    I love who you are!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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