I’m packing again. I can do it without thinking. Even without feeling. I lift the framed picture with one hand, a piece of newspaper with the other and I wrap them around each other. Or one around the other, although sometimes my keepsakes are breaking in the palms of my hand. But that usually occurs when they have arrived from somewhere else.
When I unpacked my boxes from Saipan, mice had eaten through some of the bindings of my books. When I unpacked my boxes from Thailand, almost everything sacred and fragile was broken. I glued the teapot from Cambodia back together. Others I tossed in the wind, or slammed to the ground and they broke further. Slivers of porcelain and cracks from pictures, glass dust beneath my cuticles. And then Switzlerand. There was nowhere to put anything but on top of each other. Framed pictures of those I love lined the lone shelf beneath the windows. The only dishes that had survived the trip from Thailand to America had cracked and broken on the trip to here. So it goes. What are all of these things anyway, except for memories of first times and last times somehow involved with shopping somewhere significant in Bangkok or elsewhere. This time I pack without feeling the items fall through my fingertips into the box. I wonder what will shatter on the next move.
This time there are no feelings of loss with packing. I’m not moving to a new location. Just a five minute walk away. Five minutes closer to the River. Five minutes closer to school. Five minutes closer to civilization. I knew that this move — and signing up with the V-day campaign — where the only things to save me upon return my return to Vorstadt 33.
I felt empty and my limbs lisltess when I stepped on that bus and caught ali’s kiss through the window. Riding on a gust of air that sent a chill through me. The bus pulled away from the curb and headed to Stanstead airport. I always hate goodbyes because I have this horrible, awful fear that tugs deep within me that I don’t really think most of you out there understand. It has to do with losing so many people close to me to death. I am always afraid that it’s a Last Goodbye. Morbid, I know. But this is life and life is real. Now, I don’t choose to entertain this fear often and I push it beneath a blanket where it hides til next time. And I’m ok. I switch up the music and watch the horizon rise and fall through tear smudged lenses.
I didn’t want to come back here. I fought it the entire way back. It’s not my home. I hope that it can be, but I don’t feel it yet. Through rose colored glasses it seems perfect. Truly and adventure. I’m in Switzerland. So Kewl. My partner lives in London. So Kewl. We talk every day on the phone. So Kewl. I don’t receive hugs for weeks. Not kewl. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep. Not kewl. I live for the future rather than the moments I am in. Totally not kewl.
I stepped off the train and walked towards the exit. I was blocked in. Near the stairs. Near the ramp. There was no through-way. I raised my arms and reached forward to move the gate in front of the ramp. There was a loud whistle and yelling in German behind me. I turned around.
Confused, I yelled back: “What?! I need a ramp. My bag is too heavy for the stairs.” I was pissed. Why was he yelling at me in his green outfit and short haircut?
“You are in Switzlerland!”
“I know! I live here!”
He points to a room off to the side.
“What?!” I am yelling so loud that spit comes out of my mouth and falls to the ground, defeated.
Oh right, I say to myself. I huff past him. Oops. I forgot. Border Polizei. I did just arrive by train from Germany. It all runs together here and I rarely, if ever, see borders. I live on one.
I walked into a room of Green Men and past them to put down one of my bags. My new maps were hitting me in the back as I steadied my red suticase. I flashed my passport and inquired about a ramp. No stairs. Not possible. I am pointing to my bag. Still speaking in English, slowly. I don’t know the word for stairs or ramp in German.
“Thanks, you too. Have a nice night.” And with a smile one of the Green Men returned my passport.
Right, note to self: study up on German before taking the train again. I found my own way and dragged my ass and the rest of my belongings behind me down the ramp where I was nearly ran over by my own luggage. Oh the power of gravity.
As I walked down the deserted, cobblestone alleyway between the train station and my flat, I thought back to all the other trips I have been on and how refreshing it had been to sink down into that Thai Airways seat and smile at the Sawat Di Ka upon boarding. I always loved my travels, but I also always loved coming home. This was the first time I felt so awful. I have created a home in ali and that causes problems when we live in different countries. Thank God there is only one ocean between us.
So I take a break from packing. Ali is somewhere on a train inbetween Geneva and here. He will study Arabic and work on his website while I work and we will move house on Saturday morning. I’m trying to get most of my things packed before he arrives. I like packing alone. So I can lose myself in thought. Remember where I got this or that. When that picture was taken. But this time, there are no memories to revisit. I’m not moving to a new life. Just down the street. And I know that things will get better. I’ve filled up my plate and I am about to dive in. When dessert comes, I will deserve it.