Daily Archives: October 9, 2008

The first milestone

Sometimes it’s difficult to believe it’s been this long. Sometimes it feels like such an insignificant amount of time. It feels like it’s been forever. And yet it feels so raw, so new, like an open wound.

I’ve been home six months.

Yes, it was exactly six months ago that I set foot back in this country, after four and a half years of being away, living a different life in a different world. Has it really been six months already? Has it really been only six months?

A few nights ago someone asked, “Are you happy to be home?” I stared at him for a while; to have said either yes or no would have been a complete lie, so I gave the most diplomatic, neutral answer I could think of:  “It’s OK.”

And it is. It really is OK. Or it’s not as bad as it could have been. I have a miniscule — but extremely substantial — circle of friends, without whom I wouldn’t be as all right as I am now. I have a job I actually like, without which I would have thrown myself out the window four months ago. Thanks to these two, I don’t question my decision to come back here as often as I did anymore.

And yet sometimes — especially when I’m on Facebook (it will be the death of us all) — I think of everything and everyone I’ve left behind in that other part of the world, that other part I used to call Home, and I have to stop and catch my breath, because the pain, as brief as it is, is excruciating. Rehearsals with the Pitches and choir, evenings spent at Panera Bread with Shirley, nights out at Level, Papaya and the Chocolate Bar, the warm, almost domestic environment at the Boston Academy of English, and the faces… all the faces…

I never thought my life would turn out like this. I never thought I would one day have to give up the life I had loved so much, to come back to the life I had been so desperate to escape before. But who’s to say the life I had loved would remain so if I had fought to stay on? And who’s to say that I had to surrender myself to the life I left behind so long ago? For things are different now. I’m different now. The occasional stabs will still hurt, but with everything I have now, and in spite of everything and everyone I’ve loved and lost right up to this moment, I know that I wouldn’t have this any other way.

Here’s to the next six months.

A battle of wills

Time seems to have all but ground to a halt. Yet it seems to have passed in barely a blink of an eye. Two weeks, it has been. Two weeks during which I allowed myself to open up my mind, my heart and the little chamber that holds all my memories. Two weeks during which I questioned myself, challenged myself, criticized myself, tortured myself to wrest the raw, honest truth of all that I have been feeling. And in those two weeks, I fought with myself, and fought for myself.

There were times when I would have traded my soul to have the memories taken away so that they would no longer haunt me. And there were times when I turned them over and over and over in my mind so that I would have no chance of losing them. The memories of a time that doesn’t exist anymore, a time that seemed so very real, until reality itself brought it all to a shattering end.

Occasionally I was angry enough with myself to think that I wouldn’t have a care in the world if I never saw you again. I was angry enough with myself to think that I would not be surprised if I never heard from you again after your return. And then the anger would subside and I knew that I would care if I never saw you again, and that I would not be surprised, but I would be sad, if I never heard from you. But I would be angry at myself again for thinking that way, and the vicious cycle would continue — both head and heart taking turns to win this never-ending battle, simultaneously proving that absence does somehow make the heart grow fonder and that being out of sight occasionally makes being out of mind easier.

The irony of it is that I’ve missed you while you were away. Not your physical presence, because you were never really around before you left, but that other presence — the one that has always been there since the day I knew you. And what’s so ironic about this? one may ask. The irony lies in the fact that that other presence hasn’t been around for a long time either.

But I have missed you.

I miss the way you make your presence known with a “Boo!”, and the way you show your exasperation with a “Pfffffttttt,” which never fails to make me laugh, the way you say things that are so very random and silly sometimes that I can’t help making fun of you for it. Maybe I miss it because it reminds me of how we used to be, so very long ago, and not how we are now. Maybe I miss it because it’s something I got used to and I’m having a hard time breaking out of.

But I have missed you.

Only… maybe in a different way now.