the lie that tells the truth

August 12, 2011

My computer screen reads: New York City 75 degrees, feels like 68.

Today is a weekday. All weekdays for the past nine months, with minor variations, are a blur of repetition. I’m not particularly unhappy with this situation, but I’m not happy with it either. Lately, indifference is a feeling I’ve become well acquainted with.

At my usual 7:35am wake-up call, I deliberately shut off my alarm, pushing “snooze” not “dismiss,” which is very unlike me. Empowered by my defiance towards the alarm clock and in turn, my monotonous daily routine, I open my journal.

My pen is running out of ink and I scratch into the page, in so many words: I will read what I want to read, and I will drink as much as I want to drink and although I don’t like the taste of cigarettes, I will smoke as much as I want to smoke. Then I will go to yoga and pathetically contradict myself because that would be kind of funny, and I will enjoy it and I will not wish that I am at work, prepping for my future. I will do nothing today that I did yesterday.

I then scratch everything out and grab a new pen–I will leave, I write, That will solve everything.

My computer screen reads: 90 degrees, feels like 90 degrees.

I am terribly under-packed, and am trying to convince myself that it was done intentionally. Café or Te? The stewardess asks. Café please. Even the airplane coffee tastes better than the cigarette water I had been drinking every morning.

Would you like one? The woman sitting next to me asks with careful enunciation, as she pours a few pills out of a bottle. No thanks, I say. Oh your English is very good, she says, where are you from? California, I tell her, and she looks embarrassed. To cope with the awkwardness that now sits between us, I put my headphones in and pretend to fall asleep. I hate conversing small talk, but at least I have not done so with this particular woman before.

Thirteen hours later, and I’m in unfamiliar territory, surrounded by unfamiliar faces, and staring at unfamiliar words on the street signs, that I can only vaguely read. I’ve read about this place, and I’ve seen it in movies. It was much safer to be here in the books I had read and in the movies I had seen.

Now that I’ve left, it is clear to me that my leaving was never about solving anything. My leaving was about returning.


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