Here I am again, eyes parallel with the clouds. It’s familiar, this situation. The seats feel the same: ever so slightly sticky against the back of my legs, right arm a bit warmer than the left from the sun streaming in from my window seat, tears behind my eyes waiting to meet my collarbone, and head foggier than usual from the air pressure. The hazy blue veiled with a fleet of cirrus that meet the mountain range just beyond the wing of the plane. This time I’m leaning into the wall to avoid contact with the man who has decided that the entire arm rest belongs to him; spacial awareness obviously not a strong suit.
The feelings are generally the same as all of the other times I’ve been at this altitude as well. Not the same emotions, that’s for sure. They change every time for different reasons- but that nagging question of questioning what’s next is stronger than ever. I’m technically homeless at this current juncture. For the past three weeks I’ve lived in hotels in my home state. I use my mother’s address as my mailing address because I don’t know where else to have my junk mail sent. My car rests on the gravel at our family friend’s and I have boxes littered across garages and storage spaces in the Pacific Northwest. I haven’t been online shopping for the past two weeks (it doesn’t seem like a feat, but it is) because I have no idea where I can pick up the package or when I’ll even be in the country it’s being shipped to next. I’ll go to Phnom Penh to live in a serviced apartment for an indefinite period of time until my work there is done. New York was the initial next step, but I’ve given up on scheduling out that far. A month can change a lot, I’ve learned.
I have narrowed an entire apartment worth of things down to one suitcase, the one I’ll be living from for the next few weeks at least. Having the ability to go to and from places living out of something that can be rolled around is something incredibly new and it feels wonderful. It’s terrifying, but wonderful. I know that eventually one day I’ll have somewhere to take root again but it doesn’t seem that that time is now.
Someone told me once that I’m a walking paradox. I’ve agreed for certain aspects, but recently I find understanding as I see my wants and hopes for my future self being entirely contradictory. Part of me so strongly desires to land somewhere and make it my home, to nest and create and build in a nuclear setting for a smaller sect: my family. To have a massive house to fill with children and animals and soft, warm things and be able to call “home” for the next twenty years. I want to drive my children to soccer practice and peel oranges for them and cut the crusts off sandwiches and use Tide Pens to bleach the dirt out of their impossibly small jeans and wonder at the little humans that came from me. I want to try to grow things in a yard and see them sprout and flourish: basil, carrots, maybe squash for the blossoms if I ever stop serial killing plants.
I want to make pork chops with mushroom sauce over rigatoni and spiced lemongrass chicken soup for whoever my loving, hilarious, patient husband ends up being and greet him at the door with a glass of his chosen poison after a long day. I want to recline into a big, buttery leather sofa and watch cult classics and get lost in making out because I want to stay in love like teenagers forever. I want to walk down the street of my lush green neighborhood to my friend’s on warm evenings and sit on their lawn while someone grills juicy steaks as we laugh over sangria and stories only friends who have known each other for ten, twenty, thirty years can. I want to drive to my mom’s house to play quick Scrabble and talk for hours about where we are, how we came to be there.
I also want to fill up the pages of another passport. I want to be so adept at packing for long trips criss crossing the longitude and latitude lines of the globe that the thought of being stressed by that task doesn’t even occur to me. I want to touch the grounds of different continents and taste their foods from restaurants where the locals dine and wash it down with glasses on glasses of champagne and Prosecco. I want to drop my tagged bags onto hardwood floors across the globe before sitting down to takeout and falling asleep to new sounds in new surroundings: the different cries of native birds, sirens in pursuit of men from various crime families, chimes and gongs from church bells and monasteries and weddings and funerals.
I want to listen to my favorite songs chasing after sunsets in different cities and to hold hands with people I love in front of beautiful things that I’ll remember even without taking a photo for Instagram. I want to work on projects that inspire me and make my eyes shine with ideas and excitement and keep me up all night making it happen. I want to drink tomato juice on long flights in the weird way that I do by taking a gulp then kind of chewing on the pulp before swallowing. I want to collect scars from traipsing around cities where I don’t know exactly where I’m going and I feel a little bit nervous and then relieved when I finally make it to where I’m supposed to go.
Some people tell me I can blend all of those things I want into one life, right now. That I don’t need sacrifice certain wants for others and that “having it all” is within arm’s reach. I don’t really know if I believe them. If it does all come together just perfectly like that, I probably won’t even notice until about five years after it has already happened and I start musing backwards, but what a wonderful thing to know all of these things I hope to feel and to experience.
If life does fork towards one side, I find it difficult to think it would be so bad. And knowing how things go, I have strong inclinations to believe that somehow, some way it’s all going to work out to be better than I had ever imagined. That’s the wonder if it all; I have an idea of how magical these things and experiences and memories will be and while I know they’ll be far from it in all reality, they’ll feel like it because they were mine. They will be mine. They are mine.