Tuesday, November 15, 2016
1. Far away
I said my goodbyes. I gave everyone hugs but couldn't look anyone in the eye. Instead, I pressed my cheek into every chest, every neck and I closed my eyes and took deep breaths. Technology can transmit many things, but not a scent, not a sweet breath, not a stink of a boy's sweaty, after-sport, adrenaline-soaked T-shirt. So, I breathed it all in while I still can.
And on the plane, I cried and cried and wished I had held every embrace for just a second longer. Time had never before felt so tangible, so measurable in separation and space and sorrow.
Landing here, being here was and is still, surreal, unreal - even after 2 months.
But I need to be here - I need to walk away from comfort and warmth, away from ready smiles and welcoming arms, away from everyone whom I have ever defined myself by - I need to grow up and I need to do it alone.
In these few couple of months, I have Googled washing instruction symbols and their meaning, I have read a thousand recipes and learnt that cooking is both common sense and a science, I have given up on trying to love beer and given in to my irrational, reckless love of hard liquor - every day I discover something new, about myself or the peculiarity of people or the way of the world.
Once, I asked a friend who was going on a holiday when will he be coming home - and his reply (or his refusal to reply) really, really surprised me.
He refused, refused to answer me and instead, insisted to know why I was asking him that question.
I told him, truthfully, that I was just making conversation - and he called me a liar -
'nothing. just asking.'
'you never ask anything without reason. why do you want to know? do you want me to go somewhere with you?'
I was stunned. I never realized the extent of my silence until then.
My point is - I don't speak very often and I am terrible at small talk. I don't make friends very easily, I don't come across as the friendliest person and I am also very particular about my friendships.
On my birthday last week, a friend I met here wished me at midnight and said -
'you're one of my new best buddies. you know not everyone can click right?'
My point is - I've been thinking about friendship and what makes it work. I've been thinking about all of my friends and what makes our friendships last, despite the distance and the differences in the lives we lead.
And as ridiculous as this is going to sound, I think that a friendship can only be formed when there is a meeting of two hearts - when there is an ability to agree, disagree or agree-to-disagree, when there is a sharing of memory and history and when there is a certain volume of candidness and confidence - but not everyone holds out their hearts, not everyone wants to go down so deep.
My point is - sometimes, the emptiness in certain conversations suffocate me. There is nothing more frustrating than faking laughter or more tiring than faking excitement.
There is no loneliness quite like being surrounded by the wrong people - and it really makes me long for the right people a lot more.
I wonder: how will I remember this place when I leave?
Before, I thought I would go home and carry on with my days and nothing will have changed. I thought that this year here will become nothing but a distant memory, significant only to my own mind.
But now, I think something has shifted inside me. Now, I think I will go home with new eyes and new love -
this summer girl is missing her summer country.