And darling, I’m drunk
And everything that I have loved has turned to stone
So pack your bags and come back home
And I’m wasted, you can taste it
Don’t look at me that way
‘Cause I’ll be hanging from a rope
I will haunt you like a ghost
– broadripple is burning, margot and the nuclear so and so’s
They are honestly my favourite favourite artists, but it feels so pretentious to claim that in response to a direct question. Forty-five minutes ago, I boarded my last ferry from Swartz Bay, at least for a while yet. The entire bus ride on the 70x from downtown had the quality of a dream, or a panoramic postcard, those glossy ones. The thought, I love Victoria, crossed my mind multiple times, lightly, deer-like. And it had rained in flashes, shone briefly, and clouded over, all in the span of an hour, but the clouds were high enough that individual trees on the rolling hills along the highway could be made out, and it was all very picturesque, very apt.
D and I had all our luggage (all my luggage, I guess) in a pile in front of Ocean Garden Restaurant while he tried to find an address, quite unsuccessfully, and multiple passerbys came up to ask if we were alright, if we were lost, if we needed help. People came up to talk to us, too. It was quite absurd, and comical, and endearing, all at the same time. Later, sitting on a bench outside Starbucks, a girl asked to take a photo of my hand, which I was using to eat my noodles, since I had neglected to get any cutlery; it was for her photography project.
It was a good night, too, a good farewell. It has been – my last two host families have been exceedingly kind and accommodating, and I have learnt to deal with host families much better, and people, and – I don’t know how to articulate this wobbling of my heart now, brimful as it is now with sorrow and joy and anticipation and grief, and above all, freedom, that clear, ringing bird call. I have been able to put this end in perspective in all the ways I couldn’t last year, and as much as it hurts to leave people – and make no mistake about that, it has hurt, wrenchingly – that hurt is a welcome reminder of all the people I’ve found in the last two years, even when I wasn’t looking. Especially when I wasn’t looking, I guess. The thing that has changed, though, is that I find Facebook and Gmail too flimsy alternatives to real contact, and I don’t think I will be as scrupulous about online communication as I had been with my Singaporean friends at Pearson. It’s not enough, anymore, and too much, at the same time.
All the same, the half-petulant, half-terrified sentiment of I don’t want to leave yet wells up sporadically, but it quietens after a pause, and the louder chorus of I’m ready I’m ready I’m ready is more convincing. The transition period is always deceptively calming, and limbo all too comfortable a phase, anyway. It has been dawning on me, with the magnanimity of distance, following a substantial conversation with Y, that I have been too sparing with my appreciation of Pearson. Ungrateful, even, if I am to be honest. It seems like I have missed the forest for the trees, almost, and I don’t … take back anything I said, but I am starting to see more than I did.