I know you don’t hear this enough. Your state tops everyone’s “Worst of” lists and someone even said your people are the most unhappy. You do have your problems, but you don’t get the affection you deserve. Even I sometimes catch myself complaining about your small size and a lack of things to do. But I really do love you.
I love your local coffee shops, Taylor’s and Moxxee and the way that locals congregate in them on Saturday mornings or after Sunday services. I can walk in by myself to write and never want for company or a familiar face.
I love the way I feel safe walking your streets, even late at night. Despite the occasional bad news reports, I’ve never worried about walking home from the bar after midnight. Never thought to hold my purse close to my chest or to obsess over whether the car doors were locked. No one here has ever cut my purse strap and made off with my belongings while I wasn’t paying attention.
I dearly love your music scene and the people who play your open mic nights and the Third Eye Cabaret. I love how there’s always live music somewhere. I love the artists that I’ve come to know after hearing them play Mountain Stage.
I love the Red Carpet, the local bar where reporters and lawmakers, hipsters and drag queens alike gather on Friday nights to unwind after a long week. I love that I can be away for months and yet the bartenders still call me by name when I walk through the door again. I love your cat, even if she won’t go near me.
I love your historic houses on the East End and their inviting porches and yards. I dream of owning one someday.
I love the gold dome on the state capitol. I’m convinced it’s the prettiest in the country. Even when I was living away from you, I could drive into town and know I was home when I saw the sunlight gleaming off that gold.
Dear Charleston, I don’t promise never to leave. Life has a way of making those decisions for us. But I promise to always call you home.