coming home

I kept having the same dream of myself, arms outstretched, grasping — but for what?

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WWhen I described our California apartment, I tried to convey both luxury and bohemia. Dressed in a long pink caftan shipped straight from India, I brought you to our salt-rimmed porch; showcased the length of our ivy. I had painted the windows as portals to a waterfront paradise I’d built all my own — the bed, a womb; me, born again.

I didn’t mention that, for my birthday, I asked for bigger pillows and a warmer blanket, hoping that soft nights and slow mornings would finally bring me home. I didn’t explain that I kept buying candles and plants and porch furniture, hoping it was just the apartment that needed fixing. I didn’t mention that the walls sucked the air from the room through tiny wooden pores or that the door had started catching on its hinges.

I didn’t tell you that even the furniture was mocking me. Or that, one night, I watched the sunset wash the ocean in pastel sequins and I fantasized about being landlocked. Each time I tried to search the faces for a sign of what was to come, they were always turning away. “Have you settled in here?” “Is it going to be okay?”

I didn’t tell you how the quiet sunk into a silence that permeated the city, stretching across the dusty rooftops, out past the mountains with their tired cacti. How I started to relate to the plants’ exhaustion, their prickle, their thirst. How I kept having the same dream of myself, arms outstretched, grasping. I was desperate to reach it — but what it was, I had no idea.

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