Sunday, January 13, 2008

Step one of acknowledging you're leaving is to prepare packing. It happened in Japan, this idea of gathering all those CDs and books you weren't going to keep or take with you—but you must have taken some of them, because you still have some of them, don't you?

So you sorted them. Decided which obsessions were too great to leave behind. Took the ones you could let go to the second hand place. They bought some of them, couldn't take others, and in the end, you smiled. Said daijoubu desu like you fully understood, and accepted the bills and coins they gave you.

Here, in Los Angeles, you trade in obsessions again. Inquire if that box set can be sold together because it has the box, and hope that it will make someone else happy when they find it at Ameoba Records. Accept the bills—all the same color—and trade them at Borders for books. Old obsessions transformed into currency that pays for new ones.

As you left that store in Japan, thinking of all the people and places and things you'd miss, you made a list. Milk coffee in heated bottles by the convenience store register, the lemon honey drinks in the winter meant to stave off the cold, and the peace of an empty train at night. Dinner with Alice and Dave. Travelling to Gunma to see Yukiko, Wasim, and Craig. Going to substitute teach and realizing you don't know where you are. The Christmas cactus that shared your room. The bakery in the train station. The pizza place nearby where you tasted cabonara pizza complete with a soft-boiled egg on top. The coffee shop that was hidden up the stairs, with the view of the train station. The shrine you passed by when you taught at the closest school.

As you leave Borders, coffee and books in hand, you think "I will miss wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops in January most of all."

1 comment:

Karen Mahoney said...

This is a lovely piece of writing. The last line is perfect.