I remember feeling young, free and so damn alive, driving I-85 into the bright lights of Atlanta listening to Outkast's "Cruisin' in the ATL" album interlude, having those four words (ok, three words and one abbreviation) speak to me like words dripping from the God of the Wasted, the Wild and the Unforgettable.
I couldn't yet legally buy alcohol but I was city-drunk, on possibilities, on potential, on hope and on reckless abandon.
(Strange disclosure to let the record show, vol 1 of what is sure to be many: I once made out with my improv teacher, a woman then about 20+ years my senior, on the top of the Equitable building.)
At the time, it-all of it, those cars those lights- felt like something that no one outside of this city would ever understand.
And I possessed that and turned it into something. Whether that something has legs, wheels or wings-well, that's about to be tested, now, isn't it?
Bye, Atlanta. You ate some of my dreams and gave me new ones.
I don't believe in long goodbyes, I don't believe in goodbyes at all, actually. But I feel I'd be remiss without taking a second to acknowledge the give-and-take in the relationship we've had for the past 26 years.
You gave me an almost ridiculous love for hip-hop and took my faith in the world to naturally right itself. You took my naive and impassioned love for theater and replaced it with the fledgling kernels of undying, endless self-reliance.
(also, for the record, ATL? You pumped like 8 million dollars into a PR campaign I could've improved in my sleep, but, as Tupac said, I ain't mad atcha. Wait, this is about you, isn't it, Hotlanta? I should quote a southern rapper. As such, insert all of T.I.'s "Dead and Gone" here.)
You told me there were things that would never happen, things I'd never be able to do and never be able to know, as long as I was contained within your walls, and then you offered me the opportunity to make my own path.
I'll see you again, I'm sure.