I woke up inside the mosquito net and thought, as I do every year, that it was going to be a shame to leave that delightful hiding place. And for the first time, I found myself filled with downright resistance. Usually on this morning, I lie in bed and enjoy the mini-world inside the net falling around me, its soft waking sounds and obscured view, and I feel the stretch of my existence from one world to another. The sun peeks under the ruffle of the corrugated tin roof and draws a squiggle in the mirror. The prospect of departure highlights the distance and the miracle of my life’s cartography, and I float for a moment in an expanse of sadness and gratitude. But today the other end of that fishing line felt so far away and tenuous that I just had to get out of bed and not think about it too much.
Leaving Aamaa is always the single hardest part of leaving at all. I’ll call from home, but it’s hard for us to chat on the phone. So much of our relationship is a physical presence; it’s moving together in this space. When our communication is reduced to words and sieved through my imperfect language skills it becomes thin and stilted. It’s hard for me to explain my life in Connecticut, and to understand life in Kaski through an update over the phone.
But even more important is that as I get older, Aamaa and I have a simple and innate perception of each other’s aloneness. So on this morning, we orbit like two electrons, knowing this great force is about to separate us, and it seems like the loneliest thing in the world–because we sense each other’s singularity in addition to our own.
Sunrise was grayed out and respectfully subdued. As the clouds gathered, Maya bouju came over and she and Aamaa and I sat on the porch drinking tea. Soon a thick fog had rolled in and I could barely see out past the faded tomato vines in the garden – we were literally sitting on an island of yard inside a cloud. And in that new configuration, looking out at the blankness, I felt the stretch at last. That’s how exactly how it was: the three of us sheltered from the chaotic world in our temporary clearing, putting off the imminent moment when I would have to set down my tea cup and walk back in to the unknown.
. . .