I have about 160 students scattered around this city, the oldest would be 13 now, the youngest, turning 8, but in my mind, they are still mostly 5 or 6. Wherever I go, someone’s gonna jump on me and hug me, and even if I cannot connect all the dots immediately, I know.
Today it was three pairs of goggles, different ones, back then I didn’t have that camera yet, the one I used to coax them underwater with their eyes open – something I still cannot do myself. But tomorrow, could be these goggles.
I cannot even begin to tell how it feels to be remembered, and in a good way, and to know my life hasn’t been a complete waste of time. It’s so nice to be at home, turn the familiar corners, see all the same faces – the same guy opening the door at the bank, same clerks, same phat thai cook, same swimming pool attendant. And then run into people who used to fill my days and thoughts and worries. It’s nice to let my guard down and float around, even while running errands. I know I am home and I am safe.
(It’s the right girl now, just not in the water.)
Home is where you have ice cream in a fridge (….), and where your laptop remembers all the wifi passwords already, and where you get upset if the supermarket is rearranged. Where you have people remembering you and maybe in an odd moment or two, even missing you.
Not you, me.
Swimming was a much-needed sensation. I’ve just realised I’d been completely disconnected from my body since I went under and woke up in that hospital bed. It’s not me anymore. I have no idea how I will deal with this, at all, but in a way, today I had a better feel for who on earth I am than anytime in the past eight or so months. I’ve just realised I’d been more deeply hurt, at another level as well, than I ever thought.
Whatever happens, in a way, I will always be there when these kids open a book. A little ant in the corner of the title page. Because I was there when they sounded out and blended their first words.
(Or, staying with the swimming pool theme, pulled them out of the pool when they were trying to catch their breath, which is kinda essential if you want to read a book ever again.)
But am I meant to or able to do and be anything else? Or is this all, curtains down?
(Shoot, and this was actually a happy day, but here I go again.)