Omaha is melancholy. Omaha Delaney continues to be the same. My coming home is to revert back, to crave the moments when we were seventeen and dumb and didn’t have a care in the world. It is repeated adolescence. Omaha is easy. The homecoming process we have a few times a year brings back the feeling of, I could live here, only to return to the place that holds all of the reasons of why I left. Who are we if it weren’t for this place? Omaha is luck. It’s the sheer will of the universe that I had the opportunity to be born, live and grow there. Make life long friends there. Fall in love there. Omaha carries the seasons of life. It’s like that scene in Lady Bird when she calls her mom from New York, asking her if she remembers her first drive through Sacramento. Sacramento is merely a placeholder for that feeling of being grown up in the place that raised you, but what we come to find out as we grow up is that everything continues to remain the same.
Moving back to Omaha after not living there for six years gave me the opportunity, albeit short, to have a sense of what could have been in the unrequited love affair with my little city. I’m not sure that’s any different then my visits though. When I moved back in November I adjusted my mindset to, this is my life now, and I am going to have a wonderful life here, whether it’s for 3 months or 30 years. There wasn’t an adjustment when I realized I was leaving. We are never visitors in our own city. We are always longing for something that we need Omaha to be.
Omaha continues to remain the same, thank god. But so does New York, or LA, or Milan. Any place that you have given your heart to (I have not given my heart to Milan YET, and I CERTAINLY did not give my heart to LA), will no longer be a place, but a feeling. Omaha will still be the feeling of driving up Leavenworth at 2am, windows down, trying not to look into the cemetery, because of your distinctly Catholic upbringing. There isn’t a single person out. You arrive to your sleepy house, on a sleepy drive, to your sleeping family. Your heart can rest because everything you love is resting and well and good. You wake up the next morning, way earlier than you should, but your mom said she would take you to Target, like you do every Saturday, and even though it’s every Saturday it’s still special, because she’s your mom and she loves you and she loves Omaha. You know that Omaha will let you rest when you need it.
People don’t get Omaha, and that’s fine, they don’t need to. We get Omaha. We get that we are the luckiest people in the world to have had that weird little city as our nest. Honestly, it sucks to have loved a place this much because it makes leaving other places very easy, even when you know it’s not the right choice. Omaha is a little miracle, because it produced everything that I adore. I am so lucky. See you next time my love.