Rootless (08.12.2003)

Any nostalgia I felt about my childhood is starting to get erased. Given the chance to live again in the territory of childhood, I am coming to detest it.

Why do I put myself through this?

I was comfortable and happy and praised in Boston; I had two places, one to live and one to work. I have given all that up for this fool’s errand, looking for silhouettes in the midst of the ghost time.

Now I can’t wait to go back, to the place I once longed to get away from Boston.

I miss cold weather, the multi-colored leaves in the autumn, and the white people.

I see pictures of blizzards on TV and remember the warmth inside when it’s cold outside and you open the window just a crack and the air outside slices in like a solid wedge.

The way you sleep at night with a slightly cracked window, letting the cold air in as it cleanses the room — fills it with a pine-like scent.

How the scent reaches your nostrils and you take a deep breath.

How you go outside on a bad night and the cold clears your head and makes everything better.

When you leave the place you will only later call home, you become, rather suddenly, though you might not know it for quite some time, like a mouse without its fur, the soft shards of its hair flashing its ascent from the bottom to its shiny polished top.

But the news is not all bad. Though you cannot re-fur yourself, though you cannot go home, you may never know yourself better than when you are about to float, white on the dark streak of the ocean, straddled in a boat, breathing like a wild eagle — Ready to soar.

My father once, in my house, exasperated by my relentless demands to be sent back to finish my education in another high school, shouted at me,

“When you were there, you wanted to go here. Now that you’re here, you want to go back.”

It was when I first realized I had a new nationality:

Citizen of the country of longing.

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Life is represented by two distinct sets of people: The people who live it and the people who observe them. These are their stories.