May 3, 2013 § 2 Comments
The worst feeling in the world is the homesickness that comes over a man occasionally when he is at home. –E. W. Howe
It is weird the unrelenting ache and longing for a place you’re very much in, more so than when you were not there. Ever since my return home, I’ve been missing it. Some days I look out the back window of what used to be my grandmother’s bedroom before she died. I do this for no other reason than the fact that it and I happen to be here and that simple reality is a buoy. Sometimes I’m drawn to the mundane; the tamarind tree I religiously visualized while living in New York for fear that I would forget how many yards to the right of the cherry tree it was, and how many to the left of the lemon & lime trees that are no more. A lot of things are as such and yet so much are as my memory clutched for. My German Shepherds are gone while my mother’s puppy is now an adult Pitt who has mistaken me for chow and the birds he keeps trying to catch in the backyard. This is not how I envisioned my first piece of writing about this visit. I thought it would explore the emotions of coming home after a long time, followed by a series of exciting snippets about a fun-filled vacation, and punctuated with a satiated piece about returning to the US. And even with a cache of amazing, fun-filled memories, sun stained skin, a few extra pounds and a new trajectory to explore, I’m not quite satiated.
Mind you, there is much to return to the United States for. A whole life; wonderful and round in the truest and most literal sense, and it calls me, but an indescribable sadness begs for more days, moments for more memories, and time here. Almost a decade after my previous visit, everything floods into me; the heat whose harshness is rivaled by the cool of the winds that consistently blow from the Atlantic, experiences that either bowled me over with laughter or were so perfectly serendipitous that they will stick for a lifetime, along with the beautiful people who either etched or shared in those moments. And of course, foods that are constantly on repeat that had the circumstances been different, I would have been sick of by now. I’ve been imbibing all that wasn’t but now are, and doing a lot of it.
Before I left JFK, several promises were made; for the next 35 days I’ll do only what I want to and exactly as I want every single day, I’ll be present in every moment, I’ll have fun, and will write about it daily. The latter I’ve failed to accomplish mostly as a result of the other three promises. After all, won’t there be enough time for writing back in the US? And who’s writing when they’re drowning in a particular moment? So like the last visit, I have no regrets but unlike then, I can hear a bell toll for the end of my vacation. The sadness is awful, coarse, somewhat bitter, and threatening to take the joy out of the remaining days of my vacation. Mostly because back then I didn’t have a personal concept of how swiftly one’s life can change. I know now that circumstance(s) can build barricades, and that particular piece of knowledge may be the root of my forlorn feelings. I’m seeking consolation in the promise of a return that won’t be as far and wide as this one is to its predecessor. Still, sometimes there is no balm for, as Maya Angelou puts it, “the ache for home [that] lives in all of us.”