It’s such a weird feeling. Such a weird concept.
The day I left, I was so emotional.
He drove me to the airport. We stopped at a bar for breakfast, my last espresso and cornetto. He drove me through Corso Italia one last time. And I cried. The whole hour to Napoli, I was thinking about all the things that I wouldn’t see for a long time, and I cried like I was dying. The way my heart contracted inside my chest, I might as well have been dying.
In the airport, we sat together for a while. I couldn’t kiss him enough, and I cried almost every other minute. I’ll always remember the way his fingertips smelled like cigarettes when I held them against my face and how we were so clumsy when we kissed, knocked glasses around, him lifting me in the air.
It was like a movie, but at least in a movie, the heroine can decide to stay despite international law and having to graduate college. Unlike her, I had to abide by both.
So I was the one that made the final decision to finally separate. The longer I waited with him outside the gate, the more I didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want to leave to begin with.
I still find myself crying, missing the life I was living. My dad told me “welcome back to reality” the other day. He made is sound like I was living in a fantasy world. When, in fact, the past six months felt more real than the 20 years that preceded them. My emotions and experiences weren’t any less real than the sadness that feel now.
And I’m sad because I’m having a hard time holding onto those experiences. What I feel are my memories floating away from me, but the emotional tug remains. I don’t feel at home anymore.
It’s like after your first year of undergrad. After living on campus for an entire year, you return home to find everything feels different. And it’s not because it’s different. Your family is still the same. They argue the same. Talk the same. You might have gotten a new couch, but the rules of the house are still the same. The only thing that has changed is you. You’ve experienced more of what life is outside the walls of your childhood home.
It’s like that, except I stepped outside of my own country. I spent six months growing to love people and places, and now all I want is to get back to them. I want to get back to Reny and Grazia. I want to sweat uncontrollably so I have an excuse to swim in the Mediterranean and get sand and salt stuck in my hair. I want to cuddle on the top of a terrace and feel beautiful in my own skin again. I want to speak Italian without sounding pretentious. I want to be home.
I’m spreading myself between two vastly different chapters of my life: the one that hasn’t finished yet, where I still need to get a degree and spend time with my family, and the new one that I started six months ago, where I see myself growing old and finally living a life where I can be myself.
Daily, I find myself struggling to combine these two chapters either by preparing myself for this next school year and looking for ways to get back to Italy. I’m looking at getting my master’s degree at L’Orientale in Napoli, being an au pair, or working again with my favorite staff at Sant’Anna. Preferably, I want some combination of the three.
Either way, I want to go home. I didn’t come home on August 1, I left it. I left it 5000 miles behind me.
I left my heart, and non vedo l’ora to get back to it.