There were a lot of things I systematically ignored, or put away, or pushed down over the last two years. And one of them, it would seem, is how scared I’ve been – and possibly increasingly so – the entire time. And it’s weird because I didn’t really notice because all that fear built up slowly, and then I found myself back in my hometown feeling safer than I have since the pandemic began.
There are a couple of stories here.
There’s one where I absolutely knew this was going to happen, and I thought I could wield all that relative safety to my advantage. Like charging a battery, I could heal some part of me that had been neglected for a long time.
And I told myself over and over that’s what I was doing; I repeated it like a mantra, in my head, on the flight from Chicago. And I thought that this was exactly what I needed to arrive in Colombia refreshed and ready to tackle a new adventure.
But there’s another story wherein this was simply a lie because I already knew my life had become untenable, but saying that out loud would mean something dire about the way I’ve chosen to live it.
These days I fall into a hard, dreamless sleep every night, lulled by a level of safety I can’t remember ever having before. And I’m not saying I haven’t experienced this brand of safety, I’m literally saying i can’t remember. The double whammy of contracting covid twice and the pandemic turning my life upside down has rendered me completely incapable of remembering the before-time.
I’m saying that I haven’t bought a plane ticket yet. And I haven’t done it because everytime I even go to look for one I’m left feeling like I cannot possibly relinquish this willingly. Like buying it would mean that all of this – the dog, the safety, the ease and leisure – is something I don’t deserve.
And maybe it would mean that I never did.
And honestly I don’t give a fuck if it’s true, I’m just not ready to admit that to myself. Irregardless.
And I’ve already mused on how I don’t deserve the man, so there’s no real point in rehashing that now.
But now, like in the exact right now, despite the things I can’t bring myself to do, I still feel like one of the best versions of myself I’ve ever been. There are lots of things I’m working on and toward, and there is far more than a single thing in my life that I’m unhappy with. But I’m on a path that feels mostly correct which is far more than I can say for huge portions of my adulthood.
I remember considering myself stronger than this, but was I? Or was my resiliency merely a consequence of the relative ease of my experiences?
Much like Tbilisi, Medellín has long been one of those places that means something to me. Somewhere between six and ten years ago I wanted to move there; I imagined it in my minds eye as the place, finally, that I would truly fall in love with. That would make all the other places pale in comparison, where I could tuck in. Stay still. Build a life. Where I could open my nightstand and not find a Gideon.
But now it feels like just one more place on a list among many, some other nightmare disguised as a dream.
And I’m beginning to wonder, even more than what I want, what I need. Because now that I’ve been back stateside for over a month, there are things I’m sure that I can’t return to. And that’s part of it, right? Because as sure as I’ve spent this time falling back in love with my quaint, green born-town, I’m just as sure that as soon as those wheels lift from the ground it will fade away again, then blink out suddenly, like it never even was.
And I feel like there are some things I have to say out loud before that happens.