Not here, not anywhere

Travel has ruined me, as reading has ruined me.

I sit in a room full of people and stop listening. I’m not interested in your story because I’ve decided it is not unique. Your knowledge is shared knowledge is the experience of the world. When will I believe that I am not a nice person? When will I believe this is not a character flaw? I sit and look distracted but I hear everything. I don’t want to interact with you; I want to observe you.

“He says everything proceeds from losing our place.”

I try to pinpoint the day and the time I lost my place, but I cannot. It doesn’t come, the memory, the knowing, the moment. I dance around it, waiting for it. It doesn’t come.

I remember the first time I left the country and realized I had been lost for some time. A long time. When traveling feels like coming home because traveling is when I feel most like myself. When I can be apart from the rest and it doesn’t matter. The connections I form there, I can form anywhere. I do not need to be far from home. I have always been far from home. I do not know where I will go after this, but I know it may not feel like home. You make me feel like home, but you are not here.

“I believe in waking up in the middle of the night and packing our bags and leaving our worst selves for our better ones.”

A different story for a different day. A different moment of not knowing. My skin is not thick, but my armor is reinforced. I don’t know why I keep writing to you when I won’t let you in. Your stories are boring and stuff. My dreams are not of you and me–they’re of me achieving my dreams. I never thought of having much, so I don’t know how to want. Is there a way around that? I get, and then I have, and then I am with this.

I want the ones that don’t reflect me at all. I can’t see myself when I’m with you, but I feel most like myself. Is that just bullshit? The people who reflect me the strongest are the people I listen to without hearing; they’re the people I smile at without laughing; they’re the people I eat with without tasting. I try to look at you, but I only see myself smirking back. Where have you gone? “We care in order to be cared for. We care because we are porous. The feelings of others matter, they are like matter: they carry weight, exert gravitational pull.”

But sometimes I feel like my cord has been cut and my orbit is broken and I’m spooling away. No metaphor can accurately capture my apathy, when at times it feels like I’ve never experienced another emotion besides empathy. Sometimes I feel like I’ve already lived all the lives of all the people I meet, and I just have nothing more to say to them. Sometimes I feel like there’s no way to ever possibly understand all the things that people deal with and all the things they dream up to worry over. They constantly surprise me with their dramas and their fear. The things I could never dream up. Sometimes I think I’m lucky my experience is limited to only me because I don’t want what they have. My immunity has saved me from this. That vaccination was worthwhile. Once again I’ve written all these words but I’m not sure what I was hoping to say.


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