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SF BAY AREA – Waking up in one’s own bed after after being away for one year is as close as I’ll get to waking up in a time capsule, buried amid the rubble, rain and weeds that grow around it like a rock. I stare at the red room we painted years ago and look around the partial emptiness from a night’s worth of unpacking. My little shortwave radio I carry everywhere I roam sits on the table next to me and I turn on the news. All in English. There’s public radio here. The foreclosures have been cancelled because of mistakes.
It’s Columbus Day and the windows have steam on them from the chill outside and our warm bodies inside. I amble about, make the bed the way the nuns taught me, eat my oatmeal, pick up my paper in my white socks (curse when I realize my Wallstreet Journal has been stolen) find the physical vessel for this next phase, touch the plants, re-arrange the dishes and then I just listen to this new quiet of change, of settling in. We’re here for three months and i don’t know how much to unpack to signify the long journey has ended and how much to leave packed and ready to sell, to ship to move to another storing unit. Things are liquid and in motion even with the semblance of stillness. I have populated my desk quickly and I turn off the lights to hide in that tunnel of pixels.
“It’s like a spaceship just landed!” Brad said as he walked in for his pajamas. We’re sharing a closet here as well, and so my office is no longer a closed space for my landings on Mars.
Outside my smile is less strained and I relax into the street when I surface from my office in the back of the house. Everything looks wider and more expansive, and yet I’m fearful in that same old way. I stop looking around, behind, and out of the corner of my eye. There is nothing there. No one is following me. I pull my bag close to me, hide my celphone and pull the credit card and cash out of the wallet. I’ve left the dummy wallet back at home I think to myself. Why did I bring a bag? Anyone will see I have my things in there.
The roads are smooth and dark, like a deep dark mirror in the middle of the blazing sunlight. I hit the button to signal I want to cross the street and the pedestrian icon rings from the other corner of the street. A few people pass me, none of them smile or say “Buenos días!”. I am thirsty but Angelica isn’t there for me to say “Kal awech Angelica!” and to watch her make orange juice while the marching bands pound the city’s heart in La Antigua’s central park. It’s quiet and it’s like I’m inside in the middle of the outside world.
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