“I like to see people reunited, I like to see people run to each other, I like the kissing and the crying, I like the impatience, the stories that the mouth can’t tell fast enough, the ears that aren’t big enough, the eyes that can’t take in all of the change, I like the hugging, the bringing together, the end of missing someone.” ― Jonathan Safran Foer
When I go back home, I desperately want to be five years old again.
This is not about one of my failed attempts at not wanting to become a black-suited, well-mannered adult. Or because when I go home I just want to divert back to a state of unadulterated laziness and crawl around in polka-dotted pajamas making pyramids out of cookie crisps, feeding bushes of broccoli to the dogs.
It’s just that I crave that sense of awareness that consumes us when we are single-digits, so young that the things we see, we see with full attention to details. It’s like one day we high five puberty and things, much much more distracting things, like picking a default picture for our My Space page or wearing red lipsticks, seems to mess up our innocent sense of perception, the simplicity that accessorizes young age.
Every couple of months, I go back.
To a place where silence is a main accessory and when you talk even the walls stand in place to listen. And when I return home it’s to a place I spent the majority of my life in to notice things that I no longer knew existed. The depths of the ceiling, the fine lines of those framed in a picture I had passed many a times, the softness of toilet paper, central air conditioning!!!!!
When we live somewhere for a while, our thoughts blend into the tacky, clingy, monotone wallpaper and we beat on like a broken record. We hold a grudge and do repetitive jumping jacks toward devising and implementing a plan that can take us far away. To big ol’ cities run by the chaos masked by public transportation, to mountain tops where we trust fresh air and berries grabbing on to trees, to land overseas where we flirt with foreign language and over eat croissants.
When our mind resets us to the age of 5, we hug our moth-balled nouns a little tighter and stretch the sides of our mouths a little wider at the simple stuff that we have left to lock lips with bubble wrap, abandoned for far too long.
Laying on the fluffy butterscotch colored carpet, wearing Paul Frank monkey pajama shorts from the 6th grade, hoarding as many old VHS tapes, burned C.D.S, black rubber bracelets from Claire’s, baby teeth, plastic pieces from board games, as my aged arms can collapse over, I rest until mom walks in, gently glides away the light tears from my eyes with the edge of her finger. While clenching on to the words she so desperately doesn’t want to spill out on me and my 20-something fragile self she speaks, “Jenny, it’s time to go to the airport.”
It all seems to blend together right at the time that it all must fall apart. Vacation days are over, your inbox has reached its max, you have to water that lanky plant that shimmies on the sides of your windowsill. It’s time to go back to a place where you tight rope on the edge of your skimpy paycheck, where buildings gain more respect than the people who sleep on the streets beside them, where most people you collide with are one iced vanilla late away from either having a mental breakdown or becoming (in)famous. There is something about this place that right now, at this very moment, makes you feel tested, courageous, audacious. That as long as you understand you can always go back, and you know deep down in your twisting gut that you can, it’s okay to go far, far away.
And so I drag my size 9 converse, stumbling over rolling wheels that whiz by and chomp down on top of stuffed animals left behind on the shredded airport carpet to the man behind the luggage counter. He looks at me and through the tiny end of his paisley shaped mouth he blurts out, “Wow girl, you come with a lot of baggage” and I let out a hopelessly assuring laugh and tell him, “That’s not the first time i’ve heard that .”