alternatively titled, things I forgot to say when they were still relevant
I never told you about the boy who gave me flowers, did I? Well, I didn't tell you because it didn't really mean anything. Because it's not like that, because my life is not like that. My life is him turning around on the bus, holding some yellow flowers in his fist, saying, "Here, want these?" I braided them into my hair. They fell out sometime when I was running to the showers. Flowers without water die pretty quickly, anyway. I never saw those people again.
over the atlantic
Everything seemed like a dream, then. It was all so fast, disappearing in the rear view mirror before I fully had time to process what had happened. It was like there was some sort of fog over me. I thought I must have left the last of whatever sense of reality I had left in Charles de Gaulle, or maybe it was on a rest stop on the way to Colorado, or maybe it was still in the trunk of your car from all those weeks ago. Blame it on the jet lag, or too many hours on a bus, but I didn't know where I was and not just physically.
I had never felt the pull of two places at the same time so strongly. "It's not that I'm homesick, it's just that when I see two friends laughing it makes me miss my friends," I wrote. And so on. I think sometimes we lie to ourselves and don't realize until later that it wasn't the truth. But at dinner in a French restaurant upstairs, with the window open looking out onto the Parisian street, eating pumpkin soup and the best bread, the sun not even close to setting... Why would I need anything else?
I found a dollar on the ground at Pike's Place, right by where all the men were throwing fish to each other. I thought about giving it to the homeless man I saw on the street, but at the end of the day I remembered it was still in the pocket of my pants, which I had already carefully folded back into my suitcase because I was leaving again early in the morning. Always leaving, I sighed to myself then. I think the dollar might still be in my jeans.
I ate the best ice cream of the summer here. It was new but it almost felt familiar. Because it was hot and I was with just my family and we were walking through city streets -- how many times had I done that before? I could breathe easy because I knew the next place I would be was home.
My home and, in the summer, my interim. Where I long to be when I am gone and where I am happy to leave. Someday, before I leave you for longer than just a week long vacation, I'll write you a whole letter, a whole post about how I love you, but that day is not today.
I think it rained in every place I went this summer, but none of it even comes close to how I feel when it rains at home. It stormed last week, when I was running down by the lake. I hadn't checked the forecast but I started seeing lightning before I got to the pedestrian bridge, and by the time I got to the other side, it was pouring. Did I mention it was completely dark, too? And I was by myself? I think this is a recipe for happiness. No, not happiness, something we confuse for happiness: exhilaration, freedom, just feeling alive. Getting caught in a storm, truly caught, with nowhere to go inside, is something I recommend you experience at least once. A kind woman asked me if I needed a ride anywhere, but I kept walking until I found the car. And completely soaked the seat so that it was wet for the next few days. Worth it.
I don't know what else to say. Except that there's no place like home. Even when it changes. Even when certain people aren't there. Even, maybe especially, when you plan on leaving it. There's just no place like home.
right here, right now
Writing this, or parts of it, made me a little sad. I don't know why, because it was not exactly a sad summer. I mean, I think I spent a lot of it longing for something else & missing people/places but I did my best to enjoy where I was, too. It was a very full summer, though it might still be too soon to offer any sort of summary. Like I've said before, all I have are these moments, now memories. I'm not going to bother trying to fit them into something bigger. Anyway, that was then. And now, at the end? I am almost exactly where I want to be.
School starts in four days and for the first time, I'm not completely dreading it. I'm actually kind of pumped. This is my last year of high school and although that's slightly terrifying, it's also wonderfully exciting. I don't want to say I can't wait, because there are still a few more days of summer I don't want to discount. I am excited, but before that, I am going to fill the last few days of summer with nice things. It is August 22nd, and this is a good place to be.