Friday, July 3, 2009

Why do all good things have to come to an end?

Well, I'm back in the U.S. And yesterday I got myself locked into a two-year cell phone contract so it looks like I'm here for good. I don't know what to say about it all except that it's about what I thought it would be; no better, no worse. I spent most of the day yesterday in the car accompanying my sister on errands all around the suburbs of our nation's capital. About three hours in, sitting in yet more traffic at yet another stoplight and I kind of wanted to kill myself. What is this car thing? I found myself thinking. This is awful! People spend their lives sitting in traffic and no one walks anywhere! Because you can't walk anywhere! A couple more hours in and my sister and I were faint with hunger. So we did what we had to do. Yes, I'll admit it, I was in the country for less than 48 hours when I was lured by the siren song of Taco Bell. And I'm not going to lie; it was delicious. So, you know. Ups and downs.

But to think that just four days ago I was on my couch in France, arms and legs entwined with Hervé as we held each other and kissed and cried, our tears mixing on our faces until we couldn't tell whose were whose anymore. So yes, we cried, although only one of us sobbed, and it wasn't even me. I hated myself for what I was doing to him, for hurting him like that, for not being able to make it better. Luckily our sob-fest helped us to relatively hold it togther for the long goodbye in the airport the next day. We clung and kissed and shed some quiet tears, and then we just let go. As I turned I felt my face crumple, and because I didn't want him to see me like that, I kept walking without ever turning around. I don't know if he turned around. I reached the security check, my face red, tissue crumpled tightly in my hand. "Bonjour" I mouthed without saying the word, because I didn't trust myself to speak.

"Where are you going?" the man asked.

I tested my voice but couldn't get the word out. "Wa...wa..." I tried.

"Where?" the man said.

"Washington," I whispered in the smallest voice possible, but it was too late. With the word the dam holding back the lump in my throat burst and a flood of emotions came pouring out. He waved me through without another word. I waited in lines filled with boisterously happy Americans returning home from vacation and I felt like an outsider. I was the only one not happy to be returning home, the only one who looked like I was attending my own funeral.

And what better antidote to one's own funeral than a wedding? Today my cousin gets married, and so I will go, and it will be beautiful and I will revel in the love of others, and maybe I will cry, just a little bit. Then at 2 a.m. I will leave with my sister and her boyfriend for the beach, or at least that's the plan (but we all know how well that worked out last year). So it appears distraction is the name of the game, a technique I plan to take full advantage of this summer.

So here's to new beginnings and starting over. Again. Here's to summer.


  1. I returned to North American from Barcelona recently, and I had exactly the same reaction about sitting in suburban traffic. I still find it incredibly depressing and long for places where you can walk and walk and just keep walking, and come to neighborhood after neighborhood without encountering wastelands of parking lots and concrete and strip malls and big box stores. Ugh.

  2. The phone contract is also my indicator that I'm not traveling anywhere anytime soon!

    Also, I was shocked by the lack of walking - I still am.

  3. Country or city..pick one but stay out of the suburbs.

  4. Oh! My heart hurts for you. And for Herve.

    I look forward, though, to hearing about some good (no, GREAT) stuff happening to you on this side of the pond.

  5. hope you feel better soon..

  6. I was trying to explain to a bunch of French people recently that you can't walk in many American cities because they aren't designed that way. Thay didn't really understand the concept of driving being totally necessary. Silly Frenchies :)

  7. lets all work to ban cars!! they are what makes america depressing.

  8. good luck back home. I think it will be strange for a while, til you get used to it again. Things will work out, though. They always do :)

    I was just did you get the "Reading" thingy on your sidebar? You know where you post the cover of the book you are currently reading...I looked through the gadgets offered by Blogger but didn't see that one.