Alaska was his trauma. Georgia is mine.
Georgia is standing in the registrar's office in the high school I don't want to leave and telling them where I'm moving and the Texan writing, "Makin, Georgia." Like Makin' Love. No. Macon. Like Bacon.
Georgia is being an outcast. Being disconnected and not knowing why. Never being able to figure it out. Looking all over myself and not knowing what I did wrong. Did I sound wrong? Look wrong? Why am I on the outside?
Georgia is the first place where I was new, and never was able to pick where I belonged. Georgia is being told where your place is.
Georgia is my name scrawled on the chalkboard in the locker room with the word "Dyke" as my definition. Is. A. Dyke. One of those green chalkboards with yellow chalk that never really erase. Coach Hatcher never had the decency to wash the board down with a wet rag. So I was a dyke for most of sophomore year.
Georgia is the wrong boyfriend with the wrong color skin in a time when that still wasn't done.
Georgia is a broken collarbone, broken glass, brokenness.
Georgia is anonymous notes written to me, my family, my parents.
Georgia doesn't want our kind.
Georgia is a purgatory that burned away the last bits of my nonsense and made me set my face like flint and push through each day until that day my parents announced we were moving to Texas.
Georgia still makes my fists ball up, pushing my fingernails into the flesh of my palms with anger at the indecency of it all, the unfairness, the wreckage and shards of glass all around me.
Have I been to Georgia? Oh yes.