19 June 2009

West Coast

There's a wonderful song by Coconut Records about leaving, and I think of it tonight as I blog.

On Monday morning I'm leaving for the States for two months.  That's not a bad thing, as past posts have pointed out (and, as my friend Jennifer said, at the very least if it's awful I'll be reminded of why I decided to stay here).  But it is odd.

Today was my last lesson with the VTTT before I leave.  I went to his house; we had our cup of tea; we practised milonga because I'm bad at milonga.  We danced to a song called "De Pura Cepa," which I call to myself "the train song," because it has these irregular noises that I think sounds like a train whistle (or the Popeye theme).  And it was absolutely real, because it was reality.  But wandering back from doing my washing, listening to that song, I realised that at this time next week that reality will be a memory, like a dream, and my reality will be totally different.

This is not the first time I've thought this about leaving one place for another, but every time I think it, it amazes me.  I am here, now:  these tree leaves feel green and damply soft under my fingers; this grass rubs under my feet; that music comes out of the speakers while I try to dance to it; this face is right in front of me when I talk.  But in less than a week these leaves, this grass, that music, this face will all be pasts, will all be things that I will have to recreate or imagine if I am to have them.  Yet they are real now.  Yet they will be fantasy then.  That always seems unutterably odd to me.  This is my reality now, and in a week something totally different will be my reality. And in funny way, that makes this reality even more clear to me:  like it's etched in crystal.  Does that make sense?

Which leads me to say, I also almost can't believe that I'm coming back.  For 15 years, whenever I've left England it's been a year or more before I returned:  England was where I visited, and the States was where I lived.  But this time England is where I live; the States is where I visit. And to tell you how that makes me feel would be to sit across from you, and whisper in a murmur in your ear, and laugh that laugh that I like best of my laughs, the one that's like a gurgle of happiness; to tell you how that makes me feel would be to kiss you with my hands in your hair and a smile in my throat while I did it.

And tonight, I must tell you, all of us (that would be seven) crowded into or around my bathroom, and watched as O. cut S.A.'s hair.  Despite much commentary from the observing throng, she did a very good job indeed (particularly good considering that at one point there were four people in the small bathroom space, and there were always at least three hovering by the door). And although he didn't look anything like bad before, now he looks terrific.  La nuca de un Don Juan.  Un Don Juan amable.

I  bought a ticket to a second viewing of Arcadia, and even as I was doing it I thought I should buy two, because the price was so fantastic.  Now it turns out I should also have bought it for a different day.  So tomorrow I'll fix that, and then I'll have a ticket to take someone else to Arcadia.  Plus one viewing with S.  Yum.

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