I can remember when we were in high school
Our dreams were like fugitive warlords
Plotting triumphant returns to the city
Keeping Tec-9’s tucked under the floorboards
Now we are practical men of the world
We tether our dreams to the turf
And cruise down these alleys for honey to feed them
Jellyfish riding the surf
Shoving our heads straight into the guts of the stove
Home. This trip to Wagga felt all at once like a moment and an eternity. I fit so much, and so many people, into under two days, Iâ€™m not sure I can keep it all straight. This is in stark contrast to the first couple of days of my long weekend â€“ again a long, slow, warm and rosy haze.
For a long time the line between the Wagga me and the post-Wagga me was decidedly blurred. I made the plunge of moving to Sydney almost 10 years ago, but itâ€™s almost like I still had one foot out of the water. For a very long time at least. Iâ€™d go home, and see everyone, and stay in my old room, and for about 2 to 3 weeks after I headed back up the Hume there would be this Wagga hangover. Iâ€™d question my job and (while I was in it) my relationship, almost like weighing up the Wagga me against the post-Wagga me. And it hardly ever measured up.
Iâ€™m not at all sure when it happened, but at some stage the line became very, very clear. If I were being honest, Iâ€™d say it was more recent than not. Perhaps even as recent as the last 2 years. Iâ€™m not inclined to weigh one me against the other anymore, but I know that if I did, the me right now, sitting in the lamp light at the laptop drinking mineral water eating honey covered cashew nuts listening to Okkervil River in a house she found and set up all by herself would walk clean over the other me. Respectfully, of course.
Any friend who means well or self help book or crazy evangelical Christian boss (or maybe thatâ€™s just mine?) will tell you that you canâ€™t reach dizzying heights if your foundation isnâ€™t solid. I really, truly donâ€™t want to jinx anything here, but I think I might be getting that base level shit sorted. At least, Iâ€™m building things, literally and metaphorically, and they feel alarmingly solid. Iâ€™m throwing stuff out to the universe and for fucking once Iâ€™m getting almost instantaneous answers. When Iâ€™m asked, even in casual conversation, â€˜howâ€™re things?â€™, my almost knee-jerk answer right now is â€˜terrifyingly good.â€™ I guess the next step is to stop being scared.
Donâ€™t move, donâ€™t breathe, and donâ€™t rock the boat. I guess at some point Iâ€™m going to have to start breathing.
So tonight, driving along the Hume Highway, listening to Lack Of Colour by Death Cab on repeat, I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment. To be coming home generally, but also about the Good Things I have coming up, about the copy of Boxer by The National I have waiting for me to pick up at Windsor Sounds, about having met my niece, and even about going back to work tomorrow. Also, and probably more importantly, some amount of relief from the clear knowledge that I could never, ever move back there. Not because of the people specifically, because I have nothing but love for every single one of them, but because the whole mentality of the town and the way of life down there is not who I am any more. Some things stand still, but others keep moving.
And Iâ€™m moving at the speed of sound.