I didn’t fall in love until I left. I’d packed the car, vacuumed my room, scrubbed my scrawling off the mirror and taken down my cut-out scraps of art. She made me lunch and he checked the oil again and I hugged them all and shut the car door and turned a key.
How mundane, such a moment, such a monumental goodbye, both raw and layered with bewildering déjà vu. Actions I’ve taken myriad times, now weighted with meaning I can’t swallow.
The roads quickly became unfamiliar. After all, I’d lived there only a few months. In fact, in driving north I was headed towards my childhood and I was struck with how once again I didn’t care until I had to leave. Now where would I go? Away from my home, and from the people who make home wherever I find them, supposedly I would find myself. Sounds like a series of nasty surprises.
The highway tried to stay flat but like anything laid on the earth’s face, it sloped with her skin. As I came over a rise with the sun behind me, the trees dropped behind and the mountains sprawled under a hard blue sky.
I’d numbed myself till then. Mountains can knock some sense into you, I guess.
The trees were mostly bare—few evergreens like those of my youth—against a background of fresh snow. Sweeping white slopes, overlaid with purple grey lace. The simplicity, and the beauty of it, and the sun hinting at rose gold, and my insufficient words dishonor it now.
Stunned breathless, I fell in love.
I didn’t want to love this place. I knew I would have to leave sooner or later, and in the past months I’d done so much leaving love behind that I wanted a rest. My heart grew despite me, the homesick grinch. I laughed aloud at it, and wanted to cry, but I’ve never been teary and that doesn’t change for asking.
I had people waiting for me though I’d never met them, and soon the mountains were behind me and the trees back around me. So what my heart had grown? Now I had to leave that piece behind. I’d packed up all my stuff but you can’t bring your life with you, you just build a new one when you land. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again and I did ask for this, after all, applied for it in fact.
But I miss the mountains I just met.