Saturday, June 19, 2010
Teas that bitter
"Edinburgh is nice," he tells me. He'd just been, recently. And I was happy for him, truly I was.
"Don't I know it!" I laugh, pressing down on the sharp ache in my chest.
"You should totally go man!" He continues.
"Sweetheart!" I exclaim, "I lived there for most of the time that I was at home!"
My heart, it feels like it might come up my throat and choke me.
"Yeah I knowwwww," he chortles,
"But it's not like you're here right now right!"
My heart freezes, right then.
My breathing, it quickens and all I'm focused on in that span of five to ten seconds, is how much harder I'll need to press down to keep the pain inside from taking me over.
There was snow.
I remember snow.
And my fluoroscent green wool-lined wellies.
Cold noses, flushed cheeks,
a vast expanse of white that went on forever and ever and ever.
It was like a dream, my life then.
I always thought it was.
Like I wasn't really living it, like it was a dream.
"Mi, not too far!"
But I'm not listening, because it's a dream and I can go far, far away and still be safe.
Until I turn and there is a fleeting moment of panic because there's nothing else around me. And oh no, I'll get into trouble for this, surely I will,
when mommy told me not to go too far. But I didn't mean to, and I can't really be lost, can I?
"Chaaaa-res! What did I say?"
And Mommy is there, and Daddy. Mommy always said my name like that back home.
It wasn't just Charis, or Res.
She'd drag the "air" and pronounced the last bit of my name as "Res", not Ris.
Suddenly, I'm not lost anymore. And I'm not getting told off for disappearing either.
She chides me gently, so gently and with this smile like,
"Oh what will I do with you, silly girl!"
And the world,
the world is made right again.
For the most part,
I am afraid to go home.
Because all I've ever wanted is to go home.
And I'm afraid, so so afraid of going back now.
I can't, knowing that I will have to leave. That I will merely be visiting.
That it's less coming home as it is seeing what I've missed out on,
what I will have to walk away from all over again and this time, with the knowledge that I won't be coming home again, not to live at least.
And I am afraid,
of what it will take out of me.
Because I just know that I won't be able to take it. I won't be able to leave, and I will have to.
I swear to God, honestly,
dying, being cut open and left to bleed would just be infinitely easier to deal with.
You don't know the half of it.
Trust me, you don't.
You don't know what it's like to sit here and know and remember and not be able to do anything about it.
You have absolutely no clue.
You don't know what it's like to wish and miss and be promised the world and never have any of it materialize.
You don't know what it's like, to spend most of your life, living like an outsider in a country that's never welcomed you. Having people say,
"Fine la. Go home to your UK la. No one understands what you're saying anyway!"
and you retorting, all of eight years old,
"I will! I'm supposed to anyways, and you'll be sorry you were mean to me!"
And then finding that the next week comes, and passes you by. And the week after that, and the week after that and the week after that.
Until it's been years, and no, you haven't left yet.
I like the time I've spent here.
My best friends in all the world are here and I'm in love with my job and my cat.
And there's just been such a lot of things that I do appreciate and that I know I've gotten/experienced only because I was here.
But it doesn't stop me from missing home.
And it doesn't make me feel more at home here either.
And it's funny, you know.
For someone who's a huge believer in doing exactly what you want to do, in whatever will make you happy,
this is one of the two things so far that I can't do.
But you know,
at least in that second situation,
I got to say goodbye.