July 28, 2016

Winter is over

Winter has been long.

I am still in Paris, and everyday I grow more restless. It's like this room I live in (a box with a mezzanine, a floor of old golden wood and a tall window) shrinks every night when I'm asleep, and every morning I find it has gotten smaller, as I bump my ankle on the creaky stairs or my hip on the corner of the table. Maybe I'm the one getting bigger, like the girl who drank from the wrong vial. At night when I come home and close the door I want to howl, as if I could break down the walls with my voice. I go out, I swim, I read, I lie down on the floor trying to feel heavy, but I'm floating.
Winter made me a sleepwalker, but spring is here now and it doesn't feel any happier being here. So while the garden below is exploding with purple magnolia flowers, I strip my room of its linen, remove every photo on the wall, pack my bag, and I do what I do best : leave.

My love meets me in Lisbon airport and we take a train down to the house we've rented for a week. We're used to it now. Our life together is stolen nights and foreign beds, a black tea that barely keeps my eyes open, the sound of an alarm clock to catch a bus you don't want to take. It's sleepless time, barely there, buried deep. I lie next to him and keep my hand rolling, like a wave, from his facehead to his shoulder and hips, and back – and his hand is lost in my hair, folded over the back of my neck, holding me above the water. I tell him : « I'm so tired not to know. What I'll do, where we'll live, how we'll make it. I'm so tired to run when there's nothing chasing me ». And he just smiles and holds me tighter. « I love you », he says, « choose somewhere and we'll go ».

We're in Lisbon for six days and the storm arrived with us, blowing from the Atlantic. Torrents of water running down the hills and many stairs of the city ; the rain soaking through our clothes and making me shiver. We run from café to café, trying not to slip on the pavement, walking less and sitting down more, always a cup of coffee or a pastilla in hand. I feel like Lisbon eludes us, and we're a couple of riddlers trying to get an answer we don't want to hear. One night we go to a jazz bar, listen to this mysterious music while I slowly fall asleep on his shoulder. Another day, we take a train and walk along the seaside. We sit on the rocks above the ocean and watch the storm gather above the waves. There, the world is finally muted, and we hold hands in silence, pretending for a minute that it's not all messed up.

Longing is a difficult thing to give a voice to. I long for my home with him. I long for safety, I long for family, I long for my life not being this mess I can't seem to fix. But I've got him. No matter how hard these past few months have been I've got him in exchange and he is so worth it.

I've wanted to go back to Scotland for months now, and now is the right time. My room emptied and things I don't need crammed into two big suitcases heading home. I've got my old backpack with me and the weight is like a long lost friend. Leaving Paris, I feel no sadness. This place doesn't love me. I doubt it could love anyone with a heart made of marble. I cross the channel on a bus, and spend a week in London, with the sunshine and my family and my love surrounding me. We explore photography exhibitions and lie down in sunny parks. Another time I have to say goodbye to him, but this time I know it won't be for long. Winter is over.

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