Sunday postcard from… São Paulo Guarulhos Airport, Brazil

Hi, stranger.

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I’m on the move again. After five months in the same set, in the same apartment that was far from a home but a place to be anyway, I am back on the move. My hands shake, either from too much coffee or lack thereof – I have slept for approximately three hours last night. I spent a lot of time packing and re-packing and trying to figure out a real-life version of that Harry Potter spell that makes things bigger on the inside for my poor, munchkin-sized backpack. After I was done, I lay down on my hard, single bed for the last time, staring at the frosted glass window and even though I was tired as hell, I was fighting sleep.

Falling asleep scared me because it would make the morning come faster (or what passes for a morning when you’ve got a sunrise flight out). A fist in my chest was pushing my heart against my lungs and I felt like crying but it just wouldn’t come. I was terrified to go out to the world again as much as that I was excited.

I yearned to stay to spend more Sundays at Franci’s watching movies or at Mariana’s having lunch with her family. I wanted to rewind the clock and get to know more people, speak more Portuguese, do my homework on time and put on my running shoes. I thought of the irrelevant streets around my temporary home as I wondered if I would ever see them again and suddenly they grew into the most significant thing in the world.

Mariana and Paco drove me to the airport. I don’t think anyone has ever seen me off like that before. I expected they would cry, so I made them laugh, because who the hell would I even be if I couldn’t make light of a sad situation?

***

Three hours before my connection. I sit at my gate at Guarulhos International and when I log into the wifi, I see a reply from someone I used to know. He says he’s sorry for everything and he wishes I would be happy. It is a nice message, actually. It makes me tear up a little. I miss him.

I sent him a message last night. It basically just said that I didn’t want to hold grudges even though things went south with us and that I’d rather be friends. The original message was a regular literary masterpiece – just the right amount of salty and graceful. I was quite proud of it, actually.

I wasn’t going to contact him again, but I realised that I could finally afford to be magnanimous. I am going away while he is staying behind, back together with his ex whom he doesn’t quite love, working like a horse six days a week. My thoughts shift to that one night when he called me over, when we lay in bed next to each other worlds apart and he said that it was possible that when I left, I’d leave behind something real.

And maybe some part of that was true; but I could never be happy like that, a restless wife of a busy man, wondering if I shouldn’t try to be alone some more.

My finger automatically goes to hover over the text field before I realise I have nothing left to say. I have tied up all my loose ends – albeit some sloppily – and I’m at peace as I head out back on the road. It seems like for the first time in my life I realise how some things are not meant to last; that I have to stop trying to force open doors that have slammed shut behind me. I’m not hurt. It’s just a little bit of saudade welling up in my chest from all the things I’ve left behind and that I will still leave.

Maybe this is growing up.

And there are far better things ahead than any we leave behind.

 

Love

Elina

 


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