I am on another airplane, packaged into a tiny seat watching a stewardess deliver tiny packages of food. below us, blueblue lake superior. after an evening emergency shift, I was up early unpacking from my last trip and repacking for this one to Edmonton, to see my family. I haven't been home to alberta for a year. I miss its wide, quiet skies, its flat stretching land. I miss its breathing room. I find in it some of the perspective I lack in Toronto. most of all, I miss my family.
this morning I left my apartment in Kensington market in a hurried flurry of jangling keys and last minute grabs, the chaos of the hasty departure tempered by the cool certainty that the neither my clothes iron nor the burner of the stove were on. in the four weeks since I have been home, I have used neither. not once.
stepping off of the plane from sudan was like stepping onto the moving belt in an airport; things quickened immediately. I started working in the emergency room a few days after, and my cellphone started accumulating messages. I would wake up from a night shift at 3 on Saturday afternoon to a text that said, "party at 4. wanna come?", and within minutes, I was all jangling keys and hasty grabs. after so many months of no movement, I can't get enough of it.
my life is frenetic. ours, probably. its pace is unrelenting. when I landed, I jumped on the first speeding moment I saw, and it's inevitable, unstoppable momentum carried me through time like a heavy ball bearing. in the weeks since I have been home, it has taken the enforced spatial celibacy of an airplane seat for me to write something for the blog that I loved so much.
the contrast between my life in sudan and the one here is complete. it is like someone took the grand tape loop of my life and cut out six sudan months, then glued it together again. it hasn't missed a beat. the coming home jubilee is like the going away one. my friends are the same, my job the same, my apartment the same.
am I? I can't tell. I think my friends would answer yes. overbusy, packing and unpacking, an overarching interest in Frisbee and wanting to do more things than i can fit in. outside seems ok. inside tI don't know. I haven't taken the proper pause. there is a hard spot right here, right where andrea pointed when I came back from the hospital that one time, when I stood in the kitchen leaning against the dirty counter trying not to think, she pointed right at it, and it sits there like a stone.
amidst all of the 'how wuzits" it is rare to get a "how are you?". that's good. I don't know. mostly i think i'm ok, completely unscathed, business as usual. then I write a line or two about standing in the compound kitchen, and I can feel the trickles of sweat on the back of my neck. and that stone.
I haven't been able to go back through the blog yet,except to read the latest comments. I have not been ready to live the Technicolor reality of it. i will. over the next week. I must. I have the chance to write a book, and want to get started. i want to find what i left behind.
so that's my latest and last news. I haven't told many people. I don't want everyone to know. i feel shy about it. posting the news
seems different. maybe it's because i feel more comfortable with those of you who have read this far into the story, people who might be less likely to ask, "so, how was it?" because they know. and also because i want to say thank you. for helping me think that it might be possible.
as it is, the book will come out on doubleday in early 2009. it will not be the blog. it will be different. the blog was a living thing, kept alive by everyone who read it. if it was printed and bound it would become inanimate, frustrated, lifeless.
the book will be more careful, I will have more time to write about things I had only seconds for in abyei. I am excited for it. not just for the chance to write, the chance to spend moments in quiet thought, and not just for the chance to find what i left behind, but also for the change that will be necessary in my life to make it manifest. it will mean less last minute rooftop parties, but also less jangling keys and last minute grabs. less slippery ball bearing minutes and more slowness.
for now, I need to rely on this blue seated airborne tin prison in order for me to pen you a letter. though grateful for it, I will be happy to see it go.
below me, 30 000 feet, Manitoba's parcels of land bound by white gravel roads and green looping belts of rivers. I will be in Alberta soon. I haven't seen my brother in a year. his wife is about to have a baby. we will play Frisbee and talk about how he feels about it. he is the only person I know in the world who likes Frisbee as much as me. later, I will travel north to where my grandparents live. I have heard that my grandfather has made a map detailing every moose my family has hunted over the past 60 years. I hope to go walking with him in the forest and learn more about it, and more about where I am from. and for the first time since abyei, I will find some slowness. may it stretch a bit towards forever.
so, some of you I will see on the street, or at the next jubilee event. the rest of you I will see in spring 2009. until then, I hope the world is kind to you and the moments you love most, last and last.