Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Almost Home (Again)

This homecoming thing is complicated - damn complicated, I tell you!  I have been all over the map emotionally ever since I woke up yesterday morning.

I woke up and packed quickly, disappointed at how easy it was to shove enough for ten days into a suitcase.  I thought it should be more difficult; I thought that going from one home to another would involve more detritus.  But I suppose that Alex's flat isn't home at the moment, though she is a terribly gracious hostess, and my parents' house isn't home at the moment, and therefore how hard can it be to move from one transition to another?

Upon my arrival at Terminal 5 at Heathrow, I teared up.  The last time I had been to Terminal 5 was Christmas 2008, when Jon dropped me off at the airport for my flight home for the holidays.  We'd been dating for only two months at that point but I remember sobbing as he walked away, leaving me at security, and realizing for the first time that this relationship was going somewhere.  So, lo and behold, as I approached security I welled up embarrassingly.

The flight was uneventful: I willed myself to sleep for five hours and I watched Love and Other Drugs.  The movie probably should have made me reflect on how damaged and sick we all are, regardless of our bills of health, but all I could think was, "Dear God, please let me have Anne Hathaway's figure."  Way to be shallow, Betsy.

Arriving in Washington, DC was fine - until I got to the other side of the glass wall that separates customs from baggage claim at Dulles.  When I last arrived at Dulles, it was Thanksgiving and I was bringing Jon home to share the holiday with my whole family.  Standing there, on the other side of the glass wall, remembering how I stood in exactly that spot four months ago, impatiently waiting for my non-American boyfriend to clear customs so that we could go home and start enjoying the life I had left behind the previous June, I broke down.  I absolutely and unequivocally wept.  Passers-by smiled at me sympathetically, assuming that I was nervously awaiting a reunion, and I tried to smile back at them, shakily, but as I dried my eyes and straightened my back I realized one thing, one thing that I've rejected for years:

You really can never go home again.


  1. Aw, I am so sorry :( I hope you have a nice visit home!

  2. Oh, Betsy... you CAN go home again... it's just that you've changed. Embrace it, and learn to cherish the things that have always made you happy about home while respecting and loving how you have grown. You can do it - we're all rooting you on. xx

  3. Danielle says it perfectly! So does Eavan Boland in her poem, The Pomegranate: "If I defer the grief, I diminish the gift."
    Have fun in the States - let your family fuss over you. You've accomplished so much already! I am new to your blog, and I love it. Carry on!

  4. Thanks for the love, guys - you're giving me a lot to think about! I promise I'm composing a more uplifting post at the moment.

    And welcome, Martha! Thanks for reading :)


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