For whatever reason I've been having a hard time getting myself to write recently, so I'm going to take my own advice to try writing something bad or mundane just to get going. I've been home for a little over a week now. I'm sweating all the butter and salt and filth from New York out of my body, eating healthy, losing weight, catching up on sleep, and destimulating my brain to survive the mind-numbing boredom of the suburbs.
I got tapas with my high school Spanish teacher today! I haven't seen her in so long I still had the papel picado1 I got her in Los Angeles last year to give her, and we had so much to catch up on our three hour conversation went by in a blur. Our waiter spoke to us in Spanish after overhearing our conversation, and my teacher proudly explained that she was my former teacher and I her best student. I beamed inside—I don't know if I showed it, but it's one of those rare moments I "secretly inscribed in glue and glitter and hung up with yarn in my heart," as Tim Kreider would say. As someone whose opinion of me comes almost entirely from my performance in Honors Spanish, she believes in me more than I even believe in myself. It's refreshing seeing someone who thinks I'm capable of carving out a life worth living. I have trouble holding onto that hope as the days go by.
Aside from my Spanish teacher, the people who have been most excited to have me back are the kids on my street I play soccer with. The first time they saw me out walking last week they screamed in delight and ran at me with arms outstretched. One asked me to "never move out", or at least until they go to college, which while a very touching ask, made me shudder inside. What would my life look like if I indeed never left? Or if I stayed for even another five, ten years? In any case, seeing them and playing street soccer with them again has made me smile. I enjoy watching them grow up before my eyes; I swear every time I see them they get taller.
People often ask me what it's like being home again, and I think the most truthful answer is that it feels empty, like what I imagine being in space is like. So little happens here that my brain goes on autopilot for days, like it's Monday one moment and I blink and all of a sudden it's Friday. Most days I couldn't tell you a single memorable thing that happened, and I often feel like I check out entirely from my body for hours. I don't know if this is something I should be concerned about, or if this is normal when you have such a mundane, routine life, but I'd be lying if I said it wasn't worrying. What if one day I blink and my twenties are gone? This is a fear that crosses my mind often, that my youth is passing me by, but whenever I get too spun up in it I think about a line from my favorite song: ¿para qué correr que no hay apuro? Why run if there's no rush?
“You can’t feel crazily grateful to be alive your whole life any more than you can stay passionately in love forever – or grieve forever, for that matter. Time makes us all betray ourselves and get back to the busywork of living.” ~ Tim Kreider
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