I was homesick for places I had seen, for those I lived in, just visited, or never knew but dreamed about. But the truth was that I did not miss the places, but the feelings I had in those moments. I thought that I was also homesick for people which meant to me more than they ever knew, but it was just my memories attached to them. I associated pieces of these paths with events that happened in my life, and I returned to them trying to feel them one more time. With closed eyes, I could rebuild each step I took, and each side I turned before I reached the destination. The places I missed were not only the ones where I had my first kiss, a broken heart, and I lost someone dear but any other moment that impacted me. I couldn’t choose the memories I recollected, because when I put my coins in the slot and spin the wheel of fortune, what came up was only from my luck. Sometimes I picked the good parts, other times those that made me stronger and who I was today. However, if I would never have those memories that broke me to pieces, what I could have today and what I could compare them with? I broke free from tearing chains, I wept and washed away the pain, and I left behind painful days, but I couldn’t stop there. There was a longing feeling for something better in my life that hunted my nights and made my days move smoothly. Like children’s steps, one after another, I moved on in life and I added more events to blend with the old ones. I couldn’t ever erase the past, but I could have more good days that when added up together would sum greater than all the ones I wanted to forget. When I moved through my life, the moments when I suffered and cried, stayed behind, but those who dared to take a chance and move forward, never looked back and did not break the spell and brought bad luck. I ended up living in-between places, never at home, but never too far from the house I lived in most of my time. Today, my home was where my body was, but miles away my soul was traveling to find the lost pieces that got disoriented.
“Every mile was redolent of associations, which she would not have missed for the world, but each of which made her cry upon ‘the days that are no more’ with ineffable longing.”
― Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South
Where was the longing feeling coming from? Why did I miss and looked back in time and not lived in the present moment? Time was just an invention of my life, or was it just a barrier that kept me stuck in a place to not able to go back to the ones that made me feel happy? I searched for happiness like I tried to find that specific FM station, rotating the button back and forth at the bottom of my faith. Was better before, would be fine tomorrow? What about today? If in the present day I would not be able to admit the things that kept me up all night, tomorrow those thoughts would become regrets, and the memories would bring me back to the starting line. I lost every round and just run-in circles, without being able to win again on that track. A lost moment was gone for good; those words were going to disintegrate in the thick air, and those eyes that checked again the messages in the phone would just collect the pain and the despair, of a time, and of a moment that would never be the same. Those moments that could be added to my journey, were left with the longing feelings, to get back to them every time. When I started forgetting also felt like I was pulled back by a force that tried to give me one more chance. But there was no magic, and hocus-pocus couldn’t work that way. Once I left my home, I was never able to be the same again.
“… so delicate, but potent. It makes us a bit more human–is that ache in your heart for a place [or someone] that no longer exists… a sneaky magician. One that takes us by surprise in the most lucid way possible.”
― Efrat Cybulkiewicz
Every place I went and every time my steps took me into a different environment, always remained part of my journey. I couldn’t ever taste the same food without bringing back the memories attached to it. I couldn’t step on the same streets that once got attached to my memories. Everywhere I went I left a piece of my soul in the keepsake of other lands, to be added to the collection of lost and found feelings. The further I traveled, the more I shred my soul in pieces, living a small part to everyone I met, a little bit less was kept from myself. I couldn’t ever be whole after I spread myself around the world, and tracking back my steps and recollecting the pieces, would not change my scope and purpose in this life. That’s why every time I wanted to get back in time, I kept in frames my memories, and I memorized every walk I took, just in case one day I would turn my steps and head back home. But where was home? Was it in the place where I was born and lived my childhood? Was it the one where I spent a few days but could not forget it no matter how far I went? Did home was where I stayed with my family, but felt like I did not belong there anymore? To be the one where I found peace, even though there was not much to put my hands on? Where was home, and why I was missing it so much?
“Traveling, she realized, was like a slow dismemberment of the body. It plucked the heart out of her and split it into pieces, leaving a bit behind wherever she went, never to be whole again.”
― Rhian J. Martin
I kept myself busy and tried to ignore all the calls I got from all those pieces that I lost. I left this world, and I ignored whatever challenged me because I had to accept that the home, I knew would never be the same. I had to learn to create my heaven with what I had in my hands, and all the longing to be laid down in the foundation of the new home. Once I left a place and saw something else, I couldn’t have strong feelings just for one spot. The same was with love or with books. When I loved someone so dear all my feelings went to them, but once I separated and started meeting my soul, I left a lump from my broken heart to them, and I was never able to feel whole. When I read books, with every story I added, I couldn’t cherish only one memory, because once splinted in sections, nothing stayed together anymore, and I had to accept it as it was. But I always tried to trace back the path I took and kept close to my chest the memories that were added to my journey because every bit I ripped, no matter how many smaller pieces, one day would recreate the whole. Those memories were like a brick of gold, that once was whole, but chunk after chunk was ripped and became dust. One day, with the help of passion and desire, all those chunks would melt together from so much love and would be able to be reshaped in a better form, indestructible, and in a forever place that I would call HOME.
“But the thing was – those books were what made my days bearable. They were what helped me sleep at night without my homesickness choking me. Without books, what was there to look forward to?”
― Aisha Saeed