October 17, 2016

Summer, 2016 - part I

Coming back from England is a long string of hot, crowded buses and short nights. As I am stopping in Paris, my love's flight to my region gets cancelled so he gets another one, and joins me in Paris that very night. We ride the train back to my brother's place, sleep two hours, and leave before dawn, without seeing anyone. We take a train south.

I am back home, at the moment when it most feels like home – when the leaves of the chesnut-trees are green and the sun shines down like fire, making everything slow.

It's always strange being back in my childhood room, with books I haven't opened in years and photos pinned on the wall, gathering dust. Like a record of the people I've been, like a gallery of ghosts. My love and I sleep on the floor, trying to survive the heatwave. He speaks french to my mother, completely charming her (like I expected anything else) and rest for hours curled up in a ball, recovering from his last run. We go to the river, a serpent hidden by shining white rocks, and burn in the sun, me sitting before him in the cage of his arms and legs, both bare chested. « It's so beautiful », he says, watching the green serpent meander around our toes. He builds little dams made of pebbles, like a child. I'm never as proud of being from this place as when I get to bring other people and make them see what beauty is hidden there.

We drive to my family house, deep in the mountains, and there again he seems to be in his world. He studies the house like an architect, making lists of things to fix and replace, and running his long hands over old wooden doors. Those are days of bliss, if you except the biggest fight we've ever gotten into, but it's still bliss, and I am happy to see he belongs here, just as I do.

It always hurts, doesn't it ? Realising the person you love isn't exactly the portrait you've made of him ? Hurts like a dagger, like a swarm of wasps – tiny stings waking up pain when you least expect it, in places you thought had healed a long time ago. I've grown in a way that I don't get scared anymore when I'm hurt, only angry – but it goes away, like everything does. At the end of the day he is still here with me, and I realise it's always about choosing peace. Trust instead of fear. Calm instead of rage. Love instead of guilt. Everybody is flawed, we're all afraid and lost sometimes, but we're still here. He's not who I thought he was, but he is human and real and it makes him better. When he goes back home I am more in love with him than ever, if that's possible.

I go to my sister's. She is alone, and we take walks through her back garden, surrounded by tall pine trees. Every year I am older, and every year she looks more youthful – skinnier, hair shorter and lighter, more joy in her eyes. We spend days by the river, naked, reading books, picking the first blackberries, and swimming in cold, translucent water. In the evenings we drink endless cups of tea while sitting in the garden, watching the stars. All these moments allow us to invent a sisterhood we never had when I was young, and I am grateful for the short periods of time I get to spend alone with her.

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