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"A week from now, I'll be gone again."

Time turns wobbly near the end of our stay. What seemed nigh on to infinite when we first arrived has compressed into a thin slice with many contentions. Neither of us seem to comprehend what remains undone or how much of our now semi-precious time each item might demand from us. The serial certainty of plans have matured into multiple dimensions, each vying for time and attention with probably much that we still cannot yet sense waiting to bushwhack us away from completing the recognized remaining important work. Some stuff won't happen in the stillness after we leave but we cannot determine what fits into this category, so we continue to do what we do. What else could we possibly do?

The fresh patterns which renewed us just after our arrival have become too familiar now and a vestigial longing for home and ordinary time competes with our appreciation of those differences so subtly becoming unremarkable again.
We live in two distinct worlds, the one we abandoned to come here and the one we will shortly abandon to return. During ShortTime, we live between worlds, weary of hospitality and wary of heading homeward. My toolbox seems to mock me, having repeatedly proven that it will outlive my usefulness. I will abandon it again before I open it up once again.

I tell myself that I will be back, but I understand that no return could recreate this unique time, the long, utterly lost days and short dreamless nights. When the lease expires, no shred of ownership remains. No hint of former stewardship lingers. The emerging world closes over that temporarily opened hole into one possible future and the past overtakes current time again. Dreams, once visiting, evaporate without much of a trace. What seemed dead certain, later doesn't even qualify as dead, but disappeared. Nobody knows where dreams go and nobody could ever verify that they ever visited in the first place, catalyst without a lingering trace. The passport might retain a stamp imprinted by an indifferent border agent sitting in a drafty glass cubicle. It will not record the ironic tilt of his invitation to enjoy our stay. He will not witness our departure.

My priorities seem a jumble now, my naive courage giving way to a few unexpected skills. I navigate the recently unknown with the confidence of a native, or flatter myself into believing that I do. On our honeymoon, The Muse and I conspired to take a long nighttime walk across central Rome without a map, to prove to ourselves that we had learned enough of the tricks of navigating those twisty lanes and passages to forego our recently essential dependence upon external guidance. We made it there and back again but never became native Romans, just pretend ones, and only to ourselves. As I stand in my little outside paint shop smugly stripping another door, I wonder what this temporary independence might gain me. I have been seemingly suspended in time for this time, appearing here like an apparition and leaving like one, too.

I wonder who will return from this excursion in lieu of me returning, for I understand that the me that arrived here has disappeared as certainly as that dream that originally propelled my migration. My replacement has never visited that place I arrived from. My replacement hardly recognizes the me who arrived here six weeks ago and he seems disinterested in any deeper introduction. I'm uncertain who I would characterize myself as now, anyway. I seem to have lost myself in my work here, or perhaps I found myself here. Absent that work, I expect my right hand will return to once familiar limberness but wonder what that restoration might yield me.

The Grand Other plays around me as if it wasn't anything special that her usually absent grandfather works nearby. A week from now, I'll be gone again.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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