We must go to the ends of the world. Here has grown too small, too full with baggage, habits, and words. The contours of our bodies no longer fit or fit too tightly, like a peg forced into too small a hole.
I yearn to spill over the edges of this place into a world that has so much space to fill. I yearn for silence, for no words, for liberation from lines and customs, for the world and its treasures, for the being away-ness of being away, for the chance to be.
We must go to the ends of the world. Must shake the stiffness out of our legs and step into a world that is far too big for us. Must break from the suffocating embrace of monotony, of familiarity, of home.
The wing on my side of the plane lifts high into the air as we begin to turn and descend towards the earth, and for a moment, tilted upwards, all I can see is the vast empty sky. Fully turned, we begin to level. My wing takes a swift dip and, from the darkness, suddenly the city. Illuminated buildings are mere specks of light, like single candle flames in a dark room. Car headlights in traffic form roads of light in the darkness.
I look down at the vastness of this place that stretches farther than I can see. Its unfamiliarity is enticing, seductive, alive.
The light of the city sprawls and fades into endless darkness around the edges. There is something unfamiliar about the light, and the dark.
Night falls swiftly, and my eyes have barely enough time to adjust before the pale sky fills up with a silent darkness only known in these places. As I stand beside the red dirt road, I am swallowed up. The blackness of the sky feels empty, a great black void. Stars lifetimes away are speckled like drops of paint spattered on the canvas night. My life and I are worlds apart, lifetimes away.
I close my eyes and listen to the pulse of this place — the hushed voices of friends passing in the night, the scraping shuffle of unhurried footsteps; in the distance, a singular drum an irregular heartbeat — the slow rhythms of this village in the shadows of mountains.
Only the immediate is relevant. No regrets about yesterday long gone. No worries about tomorrow lifetimes away. Everything is pure and carnal. Simple as black and white, bread and water, love and life, one breath, one moment at a time. Red earth and myself, adulterated and swallowed by the sky.
The truck pulls up beside me, and I cram my body, covered in mountain dirt and dried sweat into the covered bed on the floor between pairs of foreign knees. We ride silently, faces covered in a blanket of night. United spirits without words who nod to each other as we rumble over dirty flooded roads.
Behind us, the mountains loom, but the city is yet an hour down the road. I wonder into you, where you are and if you too are swallowed up by the sky.
I close my eyes, and sleep comes as quickly as the dark.
From the balcony, I stare into the thick blackness of the sky, into the life of this place that has become familiar, like worn leather shoes that have taken the foot’s shape, like the returning to home, to a bed that fits the body’s form, to a warm welcome that requires no words. Only this is not home.
This place like many others, the knowing of which has made them small. Each place with its own baggage, its own habits developed over time. Each place full of words.
I think of you in another place, wonder if it has grown too small for you, if you too have grown. Wonder if you have found all that you yearned for as I have found staring into the dark.
When we come back to the beginnings of the world — to where things are still the same, or aren’t at all, to where our memories are, though nothing is as we remember — when the contours of our bodies have softened to where they don’t so much fit together as blend, when we have had our fill, all the wanderlust satisfied, then we shall be, finally, you and I.
There will be no words — only, hello — though maybe I will offer to carry your baggage, knowing that you’ve carried the weight of it alone so long.
But knowing them, they will tell us I can’t come past this boundary or that you must go again through customs, have your baggage checked and approved.
And we will sigh, we who no longer care for lines and customs, we who have embraced the world and its treasures on our backs, we two weary travelers who, in each others’ eyes, find home.