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They won’t stop talking…

April 5, 2011

The children, that is. I’m back, but barely. I missed Twangy in the airport, which has me all bereft (I had no EU cellphone, which makes me as sad as not having an EU passport, almost, and so she did her part and I flailed on mine, alack alas and, as the Greeks say, otototototoi) and then could not sleep for the life of me on the FUCKING Aer Lingus flights (their seat dividers don’t go all the way up, so it’s impossible to lie down, even if no one is on the plane, which–because if you knew about it beforehand, you’d take another airline–no one was). Then I was practically hallucinating with fatigue when we got to my boyfriend’s apartment, complete with his children waiting for him, and I fell asleep mid-sentence, I think, and woke early and exhausted.

This morning I retrieved my car from the friend who’d minded it while I was gone, and settled in for what should have been a two hour drive home. It took FIVE hours. A truck had flipped over on the turnpike, apparently. At any rate, I arrived home a scant hour before my younger son got off his bus, which is not enough time to nap, and I am practically hallucinating with fatigue again, as I type this from the bathroom where my younger son is taking a bath. The older son is doing his homework at the kitchen table, after following me around telling me tales of our ten days apart in real time, and while I’m so happy to see both of them (really: it’s like an ache flushed out) I’m also so tired I keep rubbing my eyes in disbelief at the clock, which still reads several quarter hours shy of bedtime.

Rome was glorious. Perfect, in fact. Perfect weather, perfect routine, and a perfectly delightful companion. Travel may be the true test of compatibility, no? At any rate I’m glad we passed it; not that it’s particularly relevant, but my ex-husband and I always traveled very well together, even in the midst of the marital dregs. As a matter of fact, we spent what I now realize was the last pseudo-happy week of our marriage together in Paris and Florence (bad things had been brewing for ages, but that particular trip was a final effort to pretend all was well–a last-ditch honeymoon, as it were, and it worked, insofar as doomed things ever can, and we put all reality aside and had a wonderful time. The last bit of glory before the end.)

So I think it would have boded ill had my boyfriend and I not gotten along during our very first foreign expedition. But we did, effortlessly and happily. I miss him now, even though it’s wonderful to be home, with my younger son singing while soaping his hair in the tub.

What was I saying? Now the younger child, apparently rinsed, is asking me questions. My vision is blurry. I want a beer, but if I have one I may collapse into unconsciousness. I had no internet for an entire week–the pensione claimed wifi, but did not deliver–and it was surreal to be disconnected, and more surreal to remember that one used to be disconnected all the time. When I lived in Rome, twenty-one long years ago, I think I called home once during the entire semester. You had to go down to a central office to get a long distance line, then wait for your name to be called. Now it’s a rare balm to the soul not to stare at a computer for just a few days–or even talk on the telephone, truth be told. And then I came home and everything was piled up waiting eagerly for my attention–email, voicemail, real mail, and the damned phone ringing off the hook.

This week I must do my taxes, lecture on Euripides, tend to various commissions, shuttle the kids to baseball (it’s that time of year again!) and slowly reenter the world. How does one manage? I had a thought on the flight home: from now on, I’m only going to think of life in six-month increments. When I was much much younger, I distinctly remember thinking that any mistake I made could easily be rectified in only six months. (“And then I’ll move back home, and apply to grad school….”) But couldn’t this line of thought apply equally to the present? Six months. If I’ve gone wretchedly astray, six months would be enough to set myself right again. You can make a lot of decisions in six mere months. You can fix nearly anything, you can back right up and start again in six months. And you can settle down and enjoy the present if you’re not thinking in terms of years or the rest of your life, but only in terms of months. Six, shall we say?

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Celeste permalink
    April 5, 2011 8:17 pm

    Welcome home! We’ve been waiting for you. Now sleep. :o)

  2. April 5, 2011 9:20 pm

    Hurray! Go sleep a few hours then post some more, mmmkay?

  3. April 5, 2011 9:29 pm

    Welcome back! I’m glad you had such a lovely time with an equally lovely companion. Go get some sleep!!

  4. April 6, 2011 12:12 am

    welcome back!! lovely to see your post!

  5. April 6, 2011 8:45 am

    Glad you had a great time in Rome. Now sleep!

  6. PinkieBling permalink
    April 6, 2011 11:52 am

    Welcome back! So happy you had a lovely trip.

    Also, six months at a time sounds perfect to me.

    • irretrievablybroken permalink*
      April 6, 2011 8:57 pm

      Six months both forward and backward, if you know what I mean–look no farther forward than six months, and know you can undo anything that’s gone wrong in six months…or at least get yourself well on a different road in six months’ time. Does that really sound feasible? I’m staking my sanity on it, so do let me know if you think it’s just insane. I find the whole idea massively comforting.

      • PinkieBling permalink
        April 11, 2011 11:15 am

        I fully agree with you. So we can only kick ourselves for mistakes made within the past six months as well, right?

  7. April 7, 2011 3:32 pm

    Welcome home! (And you’ve put Rome in my head for the past week and it’s making Milwaukee seem far less glamorous than it did the week before.)

  8. kath permalink
    April 8, 2011 12:50 pm

    i love the six months philosophy! i am going to adopt it myself! thank you….xo

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