Somewhere I’ve Never Been

I have not been writing and it is because I do not feel like there is anything left to say. That could never be the truth, and yet it feels like it is, like I should apologize to the way I thought all of this would be. I put on music in words I don’t understand, and go for a walk instead. The days are unspooling so steadily and slowly that I forget to feel the ache in the in-betweens. I have been falling in love at the drop of a hat. I have been waking up as someone else, and not knowing how to look at myself in the mirror because of it.

My neighbourhood is full of broken sidewalks and steep hills, and it seems everyone sells orange juice. It is always alive with the sound of the iron-collector’s whistle or someone calling for water. It hasn’t been long enough to feel like background-music yet, and yet it feels like I’ve been here for years. With 3 months left, I hang curtains and it feels like a home, although not mine. Someone else, always someone else.

There are trains and combi-busses with seats that are ripped at the seams and busses missing the back row and there are people, people no matter where you are, at what hour, or with who. They say, its when there’s no one around that you should be frightened. This feels like something that is about something bigger than what it sounds like it is about.

None of it is ever fast enough. The Spanish words for it all, the way I learn to dance and remember not to have more than one drink in public. The time we spend side-by-side, sweating in the backs of taxis and promising we’ll make it through this time. It never lasts. The sand finally washes out of my hair and I am left dreaming of the mountains somewhere it is always snowing. Of course, there is an art to all of this. There is a way we learn to leave things behind, a way to relearn how to go back without going backwards. In between the cracks and the smell of tamales, there is a way forward, because how could there not be? There is more to this than I will ever have the words for.

I always think I’ve already learnt all there is left to know, the way to navigate the holes and dodge the cars that never stop no matter how pretty the sundress, to choose the right street to get back home. I think this and think this and think this, but no matter how many times I’ve done this, I always end up somewhere I’ve never been.

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