I’m home now, back on the other side of the pond. Physically I walk around. People ask me how it was. People hug me, say it’s good to have me back. I wonder if it’s true. I wonder if I’m home.
Nobody told me what it would be like. Having to leave. They don’t tell you the way it twists your chest into a knot. A week of hugs with water in my eyes. A week of every emotion shaken up inside of me, exploding all around me, bottled up and stored and oozing as it pleased.
You must be excited to see your family and friends. That’s what they told me, as they hug me for the last time. And I smile, nod along. I should be. And I think I am. But the thought of getting on the plane, your beautiful fields and green hills disappearing beneath the clouds, made it hard to pretend to be enthusiastic.
As soon as I sat down on the plane, the tears begin to flow. I fell in love. I fell and I’m hitting the pavement. This dream is over, I’m waking up.
The only way to go is to say, See you Soon. You’ve blessed me more than I can bare. Your beauty overwhelms me. Your people haunt me. I feel stronger than ever, yet, somehow, weaker too.
You taught me that rain isn’t grey. It’s sunshine I’m no longer afraid to let touch my skin. Oh, you taught me so many things.
Like a bluebell from a field of purple, I will press you upon my heart. These memories aren’t just photographs I will print and place in a scrapbook.
It was a time I jumped in, thinking nobody would be next to me. I came up gasping for breath, only to realize I was surrounded by souls jumping in all around me. The water wasn’t so cold. My body not so frail.
It’s not that I do not like America. It’s not that New Jersey is as awful as the stereotypes paint. I saw my parents waiting for me after my seven hour flight and felt happiness again. My father kissed my head and the exhaustion faded for a moment. My dog, old and blind as she is, bumped into me and suddenly realized who it was she was smelling. Suddenly she was a puppy again and, oh, it was good to scratch her wiggling bum. My friends squeeze me tight, overjoyed. And it’s easier that way. I’m working again, driving again, lifting again. Sliding back into these molds of home.
But I’m not fitting quite the same. I’m shoving myself in but I think I may now be a different shape. This is no longer my only home. Wherever I am, that place is no longer all that I am. And how do I sleep in beds that never feel fully mine?
Throw me into the sea. I’m a broken vessel. Let these pieces be beaten in the waves, softened by the foam. Carry them to the shores of my homes. These pieces of gratitude, of beauty that cuts the gut. I will walk, carrying inside of me the scattered pieces of my homes, each beautiful, each full of wonder.
I will be seeing you, my dear friend, soon.
But until then, take care.