I slide the window shade up a few inches, careful not to let too much light into the airplane. We are pretending it’s nighttime as we chase the sunset on this flight. The cabin is quiet. I cannot sleep and I cannot resist the view, thirty-eight thousand miles above an enormous snowy mass somewhere over Canada. I am halfway home. My second flight home from Italy in three months, so different this time. In August, after a year away, my hopes were high, a love waiting, a move to LA, more change, and continued adventure. The first draft of my manuscript complete and safety stored on my laptop, I felt accomplished and proud.
In the ten weeks I was home my plans slowly unraveled. Seems they lost their magic once I left Italy. The love I thought had waited for me had moved on months ago. He only needed to tell me so. I was sad and could not be consoled by the comforts of home. Absolutely sure another adventure was what I needed. I pushed past loneliness and stuck to my plan to find a place in LA. I spent time pet sitting here and there as I called in favors, looking for connections to Los Angeles. Nothing was panning out.
I focussed on writing, burying myself in my manuscript, editing and rewrites. I asked a few friends to read it. Their feedback made me feel successful and strong. But it couldn’t cure my deep sadness or my restlessness. With no permanent place to live, I looked forward to returning to Italy, sure it would provide me with the answers I so desperately wanted. Perhaps the magic would be there waiting for me.
During the first week, I toured with two friends. A much needed distraction as I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite places in Italy. The weather was gorgeous, and our days jam packed, I hardly had a moment to be sad. But once they left, I fell into depression again, had a migraine for four days and the whole country was under water. Italy felt sad and gloomy too. I had to get away. I escaped the rain and went to Amsterdam.
Turned out my niece was there with her boyfriend, enjoying fall break from the university they attend in Paris. She and I met up and found some time for thoughtful conversation. We talked about love and life, our journeys and what comes next for us, kindred spirits a generation apart. We didn’t come up with answers, only more questions. And for the first time in weeks, I was okay with the ‘not’ knowing, I didn’t need to have all the answers. But, I did need a plan.
So what did I know for sure? I knew I was tired of living out of my suitcase for the last three months. I wanted a place to live. I knew I was lonely and sad, maybe even depressed. In order to feel better, I wanted to be near the healing power of my loving family and friends. I had to put living in LA on hold, and stay put in Orange County for a while. I didn’t need to sacrifice my well-being to prove to myself, or to anyone else, that I could stick to a plan when it hurt like hell. I needed to be home.
Peaking out the window again, I feel the magic once more . . . and I realize it is hope. I pull down the shade and close my eyes. I am going home for real this time. The home that knows me best. The home that welcomes me with open arms, the home of my heart.
And I am full of hope.
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