When?

Shouldn’t be writing, shouldn’t be awake–when I woke up this morning, whatever time it was, whatever time zone it was, I was in D’s childhood room while he himself was in Rome finishing up his work training. Just like when he left a day before I did in Samoa, I kept looking around for him, wondering if he was in the garden or in the shower or in the kitchen or what. The last time I was in a bed I was on another continent, saying good night in another language.

We spent the last night together in the hotel, Rome simmering outside the window, watching movies and eating pizza in bed, talking about when we’ll see each other again, when and where and how that will be. I walked him to work the next morning and said goodbye, kissing and crying, for at least six months right there on the street by a cafe where they had homemade croissants. “I don’t cry when we say goodbye,” he said, smiling that smile, holding my face, “because I know we are going to see each other again,” and he’s right, he’s right, but still. On the street. For six months. When will that be, I wondered, walking back down the street, sunglasses on. When is anything going to happen?

I got on the Metro and went to the train station and went to Milan and went to Arona and went to Paruzzaro for one more night. He wasn’t there to translate for me but I got through dinner with a bare minimum of explanatory hand gestures and pet the cat and called him to say goodnight and packed up my bags and made it to sleep kind of sort of early but not really. This morning (when?) his dad drove me to the airport and we stopped by the bakery so I could get some AWESOME pane all’uva (raisin bread, basically, but a raisin bread unlike any you have ever known, I feel reasonably confident in saying) to have for breakfast and then my flight was delayed but there was another one that could take me instead so I bought The Kite Runner since I only had one other book with me and got on the plane and chatted to a very nice older Italian gentleman about Lake Maggiore and San Francisco and ate every single snack they brought around.

The line at customs for American citizens at JFK was short (I guess because they’re not taking retina scans and fingerprints, sorry we’re such louts, non-American citizens) and the customs dude looked quizzically at the polenta I brought back with me and the guy who stamped my passport said “How was the weather over there?” and I discovered that my cell phone battery was dead so I just ran around looking for an outlet and deciding that if I’m going to quit Starbucks then the airport between flights is a fine place to do that, and then I was almost the last person on the plane and then we sat on the runway for an hour and then we were seventh in line for takeoff and then they didn’t have any pillows on the flight and then I watched a couple of hours of Animal Planet (orphan elephants!) and then my legs and arms and shoulders and knees started to really hurt and then we landed. While we were on the tarmac I started talking with the girls in between whom I was sitting and we were saying annoying things like “Could you turn up the humidity in the plane, please?” and “As long as the people in business class have their champagne, that’s enough for me–I hate water, anyway” and “More crying babies, please!” but then I thought that maybe I should be quiet about that sort of thing because the airline might take those hilarious fun-loving jests as actual suggestions.

In Seattle they lost my checked luggage, which I think you will agree is awesome because I didn’t want the rest of that pane all’uva anyway and I stumbled over to the supershuttle and paid them a lot of money to take me to Ballard, please. And now here I am in my borrowed room, not sure what time it is, not sure if I really did wake up in Italy this morning (when?), not sure what’s going to happen next. Three days ago I was in the Sistine Chapel. Three months from now I hope to be in a different hemisphere (when?). But the question becomes, again, the question that has always been: what am I going to do now?

4 comments

  1. Carl Sandburg said it best: “Strange things blow in through my window on the wings of the night wind, and I don’t worry about my destiny.” Don’t worry, yours will all sort itself out.

    In the meantime, we’re glad you’re back in Ballard!

  2. I’m glad you’re back, I’ve been missing our Monday night dinners!

  3. You’re home, yay! We’ll come up and say hi.

  4. Girl, call or e-mail me for tips on six-month-long separations. I have been there, and as an anxious girlfriend, too, not just as a wife.