Lovage’s birthday was yesterday! And interestingly, a few days before that was a day I like to call our “Friendaversary,” or a year since we met right here in Istanbul.
If you’ve spoken to me at all recently, I’m sure I’ve regaled you with an account of the [increasing?] homesickness/nostalgia/whathaveyou that has been assuredly on the scene, but a weird side-affect of this is that, in my head, all of my circles of friends are melting together.
Like, I’m having wild fantasies about hanging out with my friends in Portland at a bar in Chicago, and taking my friends in Seattle to a party in Miami. You get the gist.
But I also, sometimes, think about these people joining me out here. But even in my fantasies, they just can’t hang.
Like, I’m telling you that I can’t even imagine these people being able to operate like I do out here in the wide world.
Except for Callie. I know she can, because I met her in Prague.
But Callie aside, there’s this weird thing that feels even more insidious than an obsessive fantasy, and that’s wondering, constantly, if I can go back.
I mean, I can go back. I can physically purchase a plane ticket and ride across the Atlantic back to the United States. But I’ve been wondering: when I do, who will I be?
Will I still be content to hang out at the same places? To have the same conversations? Will my old haunts feel like an old friend, or a new prison?
And if I can’t reacclimatize to existing properly back in the States, where the fuck do I go? And after spending two years flying somewhat aimlessly around the world, why am I so concerned with belonging?
I missed so much over there, and though I feel like I kept tabs with things stateside on the internet, there just has to be so much that I just don’t get. The pandemic stateside and my pandemic were completely different: over here we were dodging rapists and dragging our bags around the Balkans and chasing vaccines from country to country.
And over there they were marching in the streets, waiting on stimulus checks, and dying in droves.
And now our touchstones for this time, meaning the ones we have honed out here and the ones folks have stateside, are completely different. And when I really think about going back and having those first few conversations, they sound something like:
“Hey, where have you been?”
Around? I mean. Okay. That’s not untrue, that’s where I’ve been, but putting a year or three into words, particularly the last few years, seems impossible to me. And I have no idea how I’ll manage.
And it’s crazy because the longer I wait to return, the harder it will be to string all those sentences together, but I keep putting it off like I have something to do or prove or gain before I go. As if I need to have something concrete to say.
And what I’m telling you is that while I once believed I belonged anywhere, I’m beginning to feel like I belong nowhere.