It is not an easy thing, this living far away from the things I am tied to. I’ve been listening to more music in my mother’s language; cooking the vegetables I refused to touch as a child. Anything, everything, to feel like home is less far than it truly is. I think about this, this looking for familiarity as an act of faith. Salvation in cooking meat over an open fire and having countless cups of tea before bed. The only way out is always, still, through.
That is not to say that I am certain I will go back, or even if I really want to. I want to, and I don’t. I believe I know exactly what is waiting for me, although of course, that isn’t true of anywhere, not even somewhere where it always reaches 40 degrees in February and I can find apples at any store I walk into, barefooted with a dress well above the knee.
I have stopped counting how long I have been away, and I suppose that is a sign that things are changing. For a month, two, four, I stopped buying plants for my apartment, knowing they wouldn’t last a year- now I find myself lingering outside of nurseries. I count the shades of green in the city and it is always far more than I expect. There are parks and fountains at every turn you take, and isn’t it funny that you will understand the Spanish of someone you like far easier than anyone else’s? I hardly have time to read, to write, to do much of anything that is not weighing up which idea feels more urgent, more weighted in my bones.
In my mind, I have conversations with my mother who is far too far away for the words I need to say. I tell her, I do not know how to live anywhere for longer than a year. I tell her, what if this time I came home and stayed. I tell her that I still know nothing about anything.
If I had to make a list of all of it, which I do, being barefoot and wearing dresses with open backs would stack up with cups of tea and best friends and the ocean in my car seat and buying cuts of meat as thick as a hand. All of this, against a wide, gaping question mark, with a force as strong as the tide at noon.
I do not know what I am writing any of this for, except to say that I am still as changeable as the bus schedule on weekends.