This week, you are traveling east, back to a place you left for hopes of a better one, which, whether you found it or not, (and you’re not sure, but you think so), you are leaving anyway. Your stoicism looks good except for the cracks, the tremble in your chin, and the fact that you have trouble swallowing. You say, “See you later!” instead of “good-bye”, and hope noone knows your sadness.
The states between the two stretch wide and press close, somehow at the same time. You want everything: to get there, to go back, to have the drive go on forever so you never have to choose. Miles of mountains and no water, and you try to picture how it would be to live here. To raise a family in a state that makes you feel so small.
And then you arrive, and you’re in another new apartment, trying to find some joy, and if not joy, comfort, and if not comfort, resignation. Instead, you feel a sense of loss, of the person you were when you left, only a year and a half ago. Maybe now you are better, or at least maybe now you know more, but you are surprised to miss who you were, or who you think you were, and you are dismayed that you can’t find your old self again in the streets and the people and the places that dared continue in your absence.
You miss the sound of the boats that floats to you on the breeze. You miss the distant seagulls, the mist, the blessedly cool cradle of night. How the city grows wild, how you always wondered idly if someday no one would be able to hold back the blackberry brambles and the mulch and the heavy-hanging branches. You miss the idea of the closeness of the coast, you miss that “going to the beach” actually might mean a beach, sand and bracing salty water and a tide. And not a lake.
But you’re here now. Comfort or not, you’re here now. You dig through the boxes for the things that will make it feel like home, the candles and the soft blankets and the teakettle and the spices.
Everyone says, “Give it time.” You wonder how much time you should give it. You are often impatient. You often want things you can’t have, so you pretend you don’t want them, because it’s easier that way. Or that’s what you’ve been telling yourself, anyway.
Maybe, hopefully, you will find your feet here again. The worst that could happen is you don’t, and so you’ll just keep moving. You try to remind yourself that this won’t mean you’ve failed, that you’re just living, the best way you know how.
As much as you thrive on discomfort, on the high, on the adrenaline of new challenges, this seems like an old challenge you know all too well. So you do what you’ve done, what you know, what you must: you pour the tea. You pull the chair to the table. You picture your shadow, there with you, offering comfort, keeping you from being alone. You settle in for a long night.