Rendered Fat Content


The Muse and I declared our exile ended last New Years. After five years’ separation from where our hearts once thrived, we tumbled into a love-the-one-you’re-with acknowledgement that permanent separation might not quite work as a lifestyle. Whatever the shortcomings, subtle and obvious, of living on the edge of Washington, DC, however unlike the ‘real’ Washington, we’d be better off just splicing in here.

I suppose some people might find the opportunity to be born in the right place and the right time and never have to migrate from there, but I suspect their number continually shrinks. Most, it seems, come from somewhere else, and whether that place was heaven or hell, the gradient between then and now requires some splicing together. The exile perspective presumes no splicing, though I’m uncertain if unspliced could ever be real.

Though we declared our exile over, we still experience heartache over the distances our splices straddle. Phone calls sometimes go unanswered; current information often smells as if improperly refrigerated by the time it arrives. We can, however, go back for visits. We prepare for yet another departure this morning, emptying the refrigerator and finishing the last loads of laundry, aware that we will not be here, but there tomorrow.

I imagine little difference between here and there. I am, presumably, me, wherever I might find myself. But no splice merges difference, nor could. I seem to retain the two or three or more of me as separate identities, each sparked as I shift contexts. I always leave wondering who I’ll be when I emerge on the other side. This makes packing a pain. Unable to envision tomorrow, I’m likely to pack for yesterday and surprise myself when not even my shoes fit when I arrive on the other side.

The splice doesn’t resolve these differences. It merely solidifies their connection, no longer separate and never exactly equal, each part contributes to some notional whole without ever really experiencing it. This space-time stuff exhausts me, and I spend a quarter of my time dreading the transition. I might be miserable here once the humiliating humidity returns, but I’m clear and comfortable with that part of me that grew accustomed to being here. The inertia of place weighs a ton and a half.

Friends offered to ferry us to the airport this afternoon, evidence that we have roots here. And at the holiday block party last night, even this introvert found no difficulty connecting with people I already knew and who already kinda knew me, too. The neighbors know we’re leaving, and why. We’ve hired a young student to house-sit in our absence, ensuring the cats and houseplants experience a continuity we will abandon in favor of a few weeks’ adventuring. I’d say, “I’ll see you on the other side,” but I’m uncertain who will appear over there after this latest departure.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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