March 21, 2017
We were chasing the sunset in the 2000 white Chevy; windows down, an ocean breeze wrestling my unruly mane. The orange stripe on the horizon was melting, as was my time on this Island. Though the sky was growing dark, I pulled my sunglasses over my face to hide the tiny tear creeping out the corner of my eye. I was suddenly flooded with the same feelings of fear and excitement I had experienced nearly two years prior. I hopped out of the truck and pulled Shelly into an embrace, as David hoisted my suitcase from the back. He set the bag down and wrapped his arms around the both of us. Somehow, this place was still home.
I glanced over my shoulder as I slipped my shoes off, and passed through security; half-expecting to see three weepy faces watching me walk away. I dragged my bag behind me and up the steps to gate 23A, the familiar emotions allowing me to recall the morning of April 21, 2015:
Randy shifted the car into park at 1409 Sixth Avenue. I was suddenly aware of the fact that I’d spent the last twenty-four hours in this same pair of black slacks, and felt as though I’d brought half the beach along with me. I yanked the mirror down and attempted to smooth my salty curls; they framed swollen brown eyes drenched in puddles of ink. I wiped the residue from my cheekbones with the back of my palm, applied some lipstick and emptied the sand from my shoes. In a flash, the ZipCar had disappeared, with my one and only friend in this new city, inside of it. I inhaled, in an effort to calm my nerves, and entered the lobby; a world of unfamiliarity awaited.
Back at OGG, the fear subsided as, I realized: this time was different.
This time, not perfect strangers, but friends who I can no longer remember my life without, awaited me.
How was it, I wondered, that just three-hundred and thirty-five short days later, a destination that at one time represented nothing and nobody to me, had become a place that I could now, also, call home?
Awhile back, I wrote that, “Maybe, one day, some place or someone might encourage me to throw down the anchor and make home something more permanent”.
I was mistaken, you see, “You can have more than one home. You carry your roots with you, and decide where they grow” (Mankell).