Photo by Ryan Holloway
The first memory is that of Post-it notes.
I can clearly see them in my head,
lying in the organizer on my desk.
I need them to make a list of immediate things to do —
administrative details that I normally avoid:
documents, signatures, people —
and to add a little note reminding myself to be brave.
The desk in question is half the world away.
So, the second memory is that of processing distances,
in metrics not of kilometers or miles,
but of time and money and forms and embassies.
I keep my memories hugged tightly to my chest,
hesitant to let new seeds fall into this new earth
and become saplings whose roots may one day tug at my heart.
I cannot let that happen, I decide.
There is only so much space in my heart,
to call a place home.
For weeks, I refuse to furnish the bare walls,
adding only what is absolutely essential.
Three months in and I am distressed to find
that the room has taken on a personality nevertheless,
reflecting the little clutter of my hopes, some of my quietness.
I let it continue though — even aid it a little,
adding a touch of greenery,
a touch of motivation,
plain sheets tacked onto plainer walls.
What I have walked into is tangible,
an important chapter that will need to be in the book of life.
Because this, no matter how confusing I find it to accept,
Milestones are duly being passed,
my own speed perhaps not matching.
I am being pulled in different directions,
engulfed by a nostalgia,
not for the past,
but for a future I would not live.
I wonder if I will ever unpack without mentally tracking what will need to be packed again.
I wonder if it is possible to be whole again,
to consolidate the bits of myself that have scattered in different places,
that are scattering still,
like confetti of celebrations,
or perhaps, like ashes of what I gave up.