Goodbye, Memphis. I know you won’t miss me, and I know you will always be here where I can find you. But still. Goodbye.

Goodbye to the humidity that curls my hair in the summer and coats my skin in a warm Southern drawl.

Goodbye to the smell of barbecue that seasons the city, and to the barbecue itself, which is the best in the South.

Goodbye to the Southern accents that lean and drip and sound like everyone’s offering everyone else some sweet tea.

Goodbye to the history, the ghosts of the city, all the living memories juxtaposed with hopes for the future.

Goodbye to Otherlands, to Java Cabana, to Jerry’s, to Bar DKDC, to Café Ole, to the Rendezvous, to Babalu, to all the restaurants that hold scenes of my life at their tables.

Goodbye to the music, the loud music that reaches into my chest and wraps around my
heart and speeds up my pulse with guitar solos.

Goodbye to the azaleas that burst out in joyful bunches, coating neighborhoods in white and pink.

Goodbye to the river, bigger and older than all of us, reflecting the sun like so much broken glass and blowing a breeze onto Tom Lee Park.

Goodbye to Beale Street, which always felt to me like the heart of the city, whose smells
and sounds and lights I will never forget.

Goodbye to all the streets I’ve driven past but never actually walked on. Goodbye to the streets I have walked on.

Goodbye to the people I don’t know but whose faces I recognize. Goodbye to the people I have yet to meet. Most of all, goodbye to the people I know and love. Take good care of Memphis for me.

Zoe B.