This month. This July has been a messy break-up, a long drawn out good-bye to my St. John’s and my apartment, my loft bedroom with The Narrows view.
My home for six years, the place where some of my dearest friendships were established, struck up by Friday nights and India beers and Cards Against Humanity and keg parties involving angry neighbours. My first roommates, moved on, for years, established in careers. My final roommates, moved on, house bought, established in careers. My house void of cats and furniture, almost to my relief. Like a great life-purge after a long six-year binge. And here I am adrift on a cloud somewhere in Bay d’Espoir, letting all the emotions crash into me like a train.
I slingshot back and forth between intense-almost-unbearable excitement, and devastation over something entirely in my control – something entirely reversible with the purchase of a return plane ticket.
But I have just a one-way: Berlin, August 2nd, via the red-eye to London. St. John’s has been tired out for some time. Not much for me there other than good friends, and my empty nest. (Sarcasm, if you couldn’t tell.)
The same faces on Water Street, the same panhandlers, the same Monday night line-up at Shamrock City. But Berlin promises anonymity, and fresh starts, and newness.
I’m like a druggie addicted to chasing that next high, although I already know that for the first two months I’ll spend much of my time in my bedroom, door closed, looking out my window onto my street in Prenzlauer Berg, aching all over with a loneliness that I brought on myself. I will find my gym and my used bookstore and a new circle of friends and eventually order will be restored.
But there will be no ocean, no violent winds, no echo of music floating up from George Street cutting through a crisp summer night. A weird comforting sound of humanity. No cats curled against the back of my knees, no storms to drive me under fleece blankets.
Well, there might be storms.
Over the past few months I’ve been baffled by my own feelings. Pulling books from bookshelves, stacking them in cardboard boxes, shipping them home to Mom and Dad, crying about the finality. I said goodbye to the other cats and sat on the couch, pathetic, tears streaming down my face. Kissed two of my friends with a sayonara, farewell! See you in Berlin, maybe next year. Crawled home to my parents to see my extended family, my great big warm family who all worry about me lost in Germany. The love palatable, everywhere, me enveloped in it.
Even if I’ve spent the last year complaining about my lack of love life, my freezing house, the boredom of a too-small town. Filling out visa forms and changing addresses and cancelling bills. A relief to be done with a lot of it, eager to move back someday, maybe, and start fresh with new Tupperware and fluffy pillows. Optimistic I’ll meet my dream man in Germany but deep down knowing that no, it could not ever happen. My life too intertwined in Newfoundland. Me, rooted too deep, like the tuckamore bent by the wind.
What is it about us, the restless souls, the ones who can’t sit still?
Is it a design flaw? A design perk? I am a terrible traveller, my soul always divided deeply. Attached to so many spaces, returning always to same destinations, but with the inability to claim one as my own.
I spent last week wandering the empty rooms of my house and wondering why I feel so left behind when I’m the one that’s always leaving. The deep ache for change and new experiences just as strong as the great love for the familiar, the need to be surrounded by wonderful people, by family.
I’ll lock the door behind me, toss my keys in the mailbox for the landlord. Step onto a plane and then I’ll be gone, for now. Me, sitting here in my childhood bed rifling through bags of old letters, thinking, how crazy am I to be leaving all those I love behind?
Two weeks from now I’ll be touching the Berlin wall, visiting Checkpoint Charlie, practicing my terrible German. Missing my loved ones. But I’ll be back.
Maybe I’ll be back.