12yrs ago a guy met a girl, possibly over a canteen table, maybe in a college hallway. I’m not sure. I remember the beginning and I remember the moments in between. There have been many, and some of them may have been difficult, but they stayed the course. Tomorrow we get on a plane to fly 13,000 miles because that guy and that girl have decided to get married, and we, as their friends, have been asked to share the moment. I can’t believe it’s been 12yrs. Where did it all go?
I’m going through my travel routines. Luggage is packed. Just the handcarry to sort now. Several trips have taught me to whittle it down to the essentials, but somehow I still manage to overpack. Backing up the PC, life has taught me this to be a wise move, not just travel. Memory cards wiped. Wallet. I should sort out my wallet. Sunglasses. Liquids in a resealable clear bag. Gadgets set to charge before I pack away the multitude of chargers in the morning. I may be running behind but I have the routine down now.
It still doesn’t actually feel as though I’m leaving even if I will hopefully be sat on a plane in 10hrs. I’m not looking forward to this flight. The US is easy. Direct flights under 10hrs. Nothing compared to the gauntlet before me. Still, if I could do it for Cambodia then I can do it to go home. Home. It’s more unfamiliar than any place I choose to travel to now, but it’s where my roots lie. This is where the people that I am made up of came from, even if the people who have made me who I am are scattered around the world.
Vacations stopped feeling like the getaway they were supposed to a long time ago. My phone providing instant access whenever someone wants to reach me. The Crackberry no doubt making that even more possible. Wi-fi connections and the netbook assisting further. The scenery changes but I keep those close to me nearby. They’re my (in)sanity after all. I’m sure there will be moments though, when the beeping of one device or other no longer sounds, and I’m home again.
So many of us headed to the same place. Still missing some, but knowing they’ll be in our hearts. Moving on and getting married. Moving out and buying homes. Moving away and making new lives. We’re growing up. When did that happen? Leaving on a jetplane, am I ever the same when I come back again?
I have been home almost a week. Soon those, ‘This time last week…’ moments will have passed. This time last week I walked city blocks as I continued an unending conversation and warmed myself on pumpkin spice. This time last week I weaved through a Columbus Day Parade and wondered at how young they were that they had not seen ‘Mary Poppins’ before I was too fast at Jamba Juice. This time last week I said ‘See you soon’ to that city I had too often said ‘Goodbye’ to.
Slowly falling back. Resenting routines rather than finding comfort in them, because that’s not life. So many days lost in auto-pilot. I try not to repeat that mistake. I take time to see, to really look. I forget how much I love this season. The winter sun before it turns grey. My city finds its beauty in this light. This place, always home.
I still ache for those I got on a plane to share a meal with, I know that when it’s time the water will soon become a street again and it will be crossed. There’s a reason I return though, several reasons. Those that keep me sane by bringing me chaos and laughter and surprise. I have missed their faces and my arms have missed their hugs.
My smile. Not that joyous rapture that once captured me, but still a smile. More easily kept, though it would have been truly something to have been able to burn that brightly for so long. I did not fear that I would have eventually burned out, I do not think I would have, only that I would have soared too far. I need to stay close, because that’s the source.
So now a more quiet contentment, felt from the core. That same core where the scars ran so deep. Having had those moments, and realising that there are more to come, I will always be able to find my smile again. This knowing will sustain me. This peace will calm me. This warmth will nourish me. This life will bring me happiness.
The single greatest thing I missed the most about home/that I miss about being away: spending time with you. I’ll see you soon.
No more sleeps. Today’s the day I get on the plane on the start of my “Grand American Adventure.” As usual it doesn’t feel like I’m actually going, and I’m pretty sure there’s something else I should be doing other than this, but I’ll sit for a while.
I told myself that I would never do this trip this way again, not West to East. The world’s are too different and I know in which I have been most welcome and where I have found myself left for dead as people groaned at the inconvenience of having to step over me. Still I go.
Time and circumstance has lead me to this adventure. Those people who I count amongst my favourites scattered across the globe and a need for me to see their faces once more. Part of me fearful of the days before me. I exist here in a world where I know no one dare do me harm for fear of reprisal from those who hold me tight. Funny, it is because of them that no one could ever hurt me. My own forcefield.
I venture out of it now. Testing myself to see how strong I am without it. I don’t do it blindly, each step someone there to catch me. The last one always being the hardest of course, how I will fare in the place that has claimed so many victims; so often me. But there’s where my secret weapon resides, my greatest protection, my biggest smile. Cowardice perhaps that my greatest danger knows nothing of my return, but I have learnt enough to know that one does not pull the tail of the dragon without their armour.
Too many items on my to-do-list remain. I’m afraid to look at it in case I see something I absolutely should have done and that I no longer have time to do. Batman will have to wait for my return, as will so many others. It’s always good to have something to come home to, and I have so many somethings. It’s getting harder and harder to leave this place, even though I know my return will be all too soon. Those on this side of the ocean making themselves so very necessary in my life.
Enough, I want more but there is no more time. There are instead last minute checks to make although I’m sure something will still be forgotten. There are suitcases to load and planes to catch and an adventure to be had. I am leaving on a jetplane, but I will be back again.
Until then…don’t ever doubt that I don’t miss you.