On Leaving

Essay 15

Immigration is a study in helplessness. Not learnt: thrust upon. A few steps toward liberation, a push back into childlike haze. Addresses misspelled, unremembered, favours from friends, never returned, asking for more time, lost. I came here to renew myself, that being obvious, tearing the layers, the meanings off. Nomadism in ironed collars, jewel-cases under other beds, all vagueness, all voicelessness unintended.

Starting from scratch is dangerous, and treacherous, you’ll be given up on, you’ll be unknown. That flexibility grows the head hard, and the heart hard, you know something must be fixed. You no longer feel their weather. He who follows a star might fall, but much down on earth will be stepped over, brushed over untethered—the bridges just crossed over once, the people you asked not to trust you.

You go there to redeem yourself, to show there can be ends, that it never ended, that journeys began, that persons are built from scrapbooks and dares, old stories once forgotten, from other people’s hopes, fighting all that’s obvious, all starting again.