On the Centre
Every once in a while, conversation is revived on how crucial our teachers and mentors are, as if our lives weren’t chiseled by our lovers and friends, our equals.
I watch the people I’ve known for decades fade into houses and spouses with a bow, pleas for nights out just a placebo, as if I didn’t myself travel light on purpose.
I’ve always looked at maps as unfriendly places, and moved countries after people and plans. The real nomads see the world in full stops. But I am not fully willing, and things are not fully split off, and nothing ever seems to be left behind.
You ask yourself if you’re supposed to stand up for what you departed or lie down for wherever you’ve gone. This moving frontier you inhabit, you make it your home. You guard its curiosities worried for others.
You think of William Gibson’s “jet lag of the soul” — the amount of time spent away is how long it takes for you to catch up with yourself after your return — and wonder if it’s 30 years then for those in exile, the time before leaving the time for that strange luggage to arrive.
I know I like my hands empty, I’ve learnt an ease with which to sit down, and show people how to shake off what they’ve carried. To let them be changed by me if this is what they want.