Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Reentering the Atmosphere
I felt sick as the plane was descending. My head was throbbing and my stomach ached. I thought maybe I’d picked up a European bug, but it seemed to just be exhaustion settling into all my cells.
The air was smudged with smog or maybe the creeping smoke from a summer forest fire. Not like the sky in Germany. Not polka dotted with cotton candy clouds like in Richmond.
When I came through the front door, I expected the felines to be waiting eagerly. Instead, I had to hunt them down in the bedroom. They seemed to have forgotten my scent and my purpose in their life.
It felt good to drive a car again, although the familiarity of the roads fogged the glass around the past 6 weeks. The drive to work was a Groundhog Day morning. Suddenly it was as if the last month and a half was a dream. Everything was back to normal. Everything was as it should be. Nothing had changed.
Cursed by expectations again. When I left, I expected some grand transformation of person, relationship, outlook on life. Instead, I simply discovered that I don’t like the rain or spiders or heavy luggage. I prefer the consistency of Southern California weather and I enjoy grocery stores that stay open 24 hours. No epiphanies. Just a new awareness of some things taken for granted.
The same proved true when I landed back home. Like how you think you’ll suddenly feel like a woman the first time you get your period. I just felt like me. Except crankier and a bit more tired.
Desperate to effect some sort of change in my life, I started rearranging things in my apartment. Purging vases, packing away picture frames, restacking books. Mr. Wonderful cleaned out his closet. We must have been sharing a similar feeling. But despite the new plant pots and reorganized kitchen countertop, it’s still my same old place.
I’m not sure what my next move should be. I wonder if this is how it feels when you get married or have a baby. All those months of planning, anticipating, expecting. And then it happens and you try to slow down each moment and burn it in your memory. But the next day, that’s all it is. A memory. And you’re still the same old you.