On living at the edges

Its always cold here, no matter how much money you make, or where you’re from. Even when the sun shines, it somehow creeps inside the folds of your clothes and nuzzles up against your skin and just as the warmth should start to spread, it feels like ice instead. I like it, I think.

There’s a kind of sadness to it all, to living somewhere people put on bucket lists. I worry about losing the wonder of it- maybe I’ll see the tower so many times it will stop taking my breath away. I’ll walk with my head down past all the buildings I gave myself neck spasms to stare at during my first week. I’ll forget what this month felt like, being tired all the time because everything is so overwhelmingly new, so excessively beautiful. The architecture here is so inspiring I have to take long naps to take it all in.

There’s a Metro line I take to go visit him at work. The stop before mine passes the Eiffel Tower at just the right speed and angle that it is perfectly framed in the windows for almost 30 seconds. Tourists gasp and reach for their phones; everyone else just carries on. Yesterday, I finished Crime and Punishment as it sped past.

I get into the swing of things- visit the same bookstore every Friday, try to get better at riding a bicycle on Wednesdays. I start going for runs at night. There are days I feel like I’m someone else. When I walk past shop windows and see myself, I blame my short hair for the second of doubt and distrust. After all, you can’t just lose who you are by going somewhere new.

Sometimes that feels safe and other times I just want to be the girl I see in the windows, walking like she belongs here, even though the language still feels like an impossible riddle. He tells me I fit in here, because I’m impatient and I speed past all the slow walkers. I look at what people wear and make up stories about what that says about who they love. I know how to order a coffee, even though the cup is always smaller than I’d expect. And I love the cold.

Other days, I just want to feel all the wonder, like I’m seeing it for the first time, like I don’t fit in at all. I don’t really know what I mean when I say fitting in. I think I mean I’d feel like I’m home, but I’ve never felt that anywhere.

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