Adventures in Culture and Travel

20 October, 2012

When the World Changes You and You Can't Tell Anyone.

I'm ready to jump now. To let go.
And then I came to Brussels, and all these people and places changed me. Changed how I see the world, and I know now that I won't be able to share them with anyone when I go home.

It has become obvious this week that my time is dwindling down, and that my return home will be arriving soon. There is now less time left remaining in my stay here in Brussels than I have experienced. The clock is literally running out. Soon, I'll be  going home to a world so different than this, that I could never hope to communicate who I became here.

A metal coffin awaits upon the tarmac of Brussels National for me sometime in December. I'll pack my life up into two quaint little suitcases,  board the plane of peanuts and fizzy pop, then go home- forever. The friends I've made will fade into the distant corners of my memory until at last I cannot remember them no more. The words I speak will evaporate from usage and become relics of the mind, eventually to be overwritten as outmoded data. Indeed the moment I leave Brussels I'll begin to forget. Forget who I am.

Maybe not everything, but that which remains will have very little place in a life so different from that which I live here. There is no language on earth that can transverse these worlds so far apart. Indeed how can I go home when people don't care that somewhere out there, out where, something happened, and it was important for a moment because I was a part of it? That I was a part of something greater than a life un-lived?

Name a half of dozen places you've gone today, or foods you've ate in the last month. Mention the conversations you've had, the hands you've shaken, the cheeks you've kissed- will any of it be relative to anyone in some far away country? Unlikely, as it's just foreign words with no meaning, no context. The meaning is in the shared experience of the life we live here, right now.

I'm going to stop myself this time from looking stupid, from hoping for more than what's already been given to me. For a while I was looking at jobs and other schools, hoping to find that loophole, that miracle to stay, but I can't do it anymore- I need to let Brussels go before it breaks my heart again. I need to find a way to accept that my one-way ticket back to the life I left is inevitable, unchangeable, a fixed point in the time of what will come. It's not that I want to forget, it's that I need to forget. I need to give myself over- I need to sacrifice that which I love- these wonderful, joyous, amazing days- this life, so I don't go mad from the pain it's causing me to leave it all behind.

So this is it, this is me letting go, this is my decision. It might take months for me to stop crying, just as writing this is one of the most painful posts I've ever written; but I think I need to say it- I've decided I'm not coming back- not to Brussels, not ever again, I can't. I can't do it anymore, I can't return to this place once I leave. I can't hurt like this anymore. I love my life too much here for it to be an ever-dangling reminder of dreams once lived.

I need to say that I'm very grateful for all that has been given to me, and for all time shared, precious moments had, laughs and of course, tears. I'm certain a piece of my small time will remain within me. A grain of happiness in my American island of desertion, and self-silencing. I'll go back to school in the U.S., take a seat at the desk, drive my car, eat dinner- and wake up again, and again, and again, in a never changing cycle of typical life, knowing possibility, surrounded by impossibility, imprisoned in a world of unchanging where I no longer belong, but have been destined to. This is my fall, this is me waking up from the dream. There will be no light left on. The next few weeks are the last chapters of this story.

* Title and Italics: Citation (Cris Chibnall, Russel T. Davies) [adapted paraphrase]