Five years ago today, I made my way home across 8000 km of sky, land, and ocean. I’d been away for 12 years. I sat suspended, tasting the feel of Time on my lips, looking down at retreating lands veiling a future being minutely drawn over with dense cloud coverage. I was but a somnambulist sleep-driving-walking across highways, airport corridors, check-ins, and finally – sleep-flying home.
“Having sampled two
oceans as well as continents, I feel that I know
what the globe itself must feel: there’s nowhere to go.
Elsewhere is nothing more than a far-flung strew
of stars, burning away.”
I’d been away for 12 years. In the meantime, a small lifetime had passed- childhood and adolescence. And this was my coming-of-age initiation. In a week I would turn 21. In the meantime, both sides of the world had changed. Each one was different from the one I had left. Different faces filled up the streets of my dreams. I was no less a different person myself.
This one was a voyage taken not to discover a distant continent. Not to seek pleasure or rest. Neither a first nor last. I had traveled much, and this was no exception – one more go at life. I was to myself like a tree uprooted again and again, re-potted at the moment when somebody else would’ve said – enough, I want to grow roots. The luxury didn’t come.
Leaving behind a piece of land perchance best left alone a few centuries, if not 12 years ago, I mused – Oh, Time, would it not have been all the same to You, to have left us alone all those years ago: this continent and me? – Pointless questions in search of pointless answers.
12 hours later, I stood on the threshold of my childhood memories halfway across the globe.A threshold with a very realistic doorknob waiting to be turned. I opened the door and entered home. Half that first night I spent sitting up in a sort of stupor, looking out the large black window and listening to the ticking clock while the somnambula-anaesthetic started wearing off and I began feeling the first pangs of a different reality. One where after moving for 12 years through its dream-state larger-than-life replica, I found everything shrunken.
Coming back into the walls I was born in, where I opened my eyes felt like crossing a hazy transparent wall of a long, long dream. Like a living body ripping through the veil of past tenses in a single go. Like momentarily cupping the happiness beating agianst your palms- perceptibly but insecurely as a butterfly- a second before its fluttering off into Nothingness once again.
My body and mind were still on different continents. I cried from sheer shock. I couldn’t make out how my body got transported across the globe in the few hours I would usually spend sleeping.
And then,about a week or so later, I caught myself on the thought that the place and time had finally and noiselessly come into focus. I suddenly felt immeasurably happy to wake up breathing in the air under which I belong. And I wasn’t wrong. Over the next year my childhood home became a home for a new love and my old art. It was as if life, through the veil of which I had stepped into another reality, gave me presents which I had never felt under different skies. It was a love that lasted three years, and that was destined to never outlive its birthplace. They retreated into Time together, just as they had come.
Now the house belongs to different owners, as probably does the love. Both remain alive, but for me are within reach only at night, in my dreams – an inaccessibility which turns life, as said the poet, into a universe. And which, more than anything, makes me belive that nothing is finite. Infinity is simply the finite slipping beyond hands’ reach.
It all happened so gently that at the time, I didn’t feel a thing. Simply once the Gardener took a different – a new but empty pot and said –
I sat suspended, tasting the feel of Time on my lips, looking down at retreating lands veiling a future being minutely drawn over with dense cloud coverage.
December 8, 2016