Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All the Lights Guiding Me Home

Outside my window small planes are lifting into the night air. This new apartment is down the road from our town's minuscule airport--a place that boasts air traffic of the type that used to set down and raise up from Mankato's tiny airport, where Dan used to take me up and let me hold the controls in a plane no bigger than my car.

At my old apartment--the one I just left, the one in the giant Victorian house, the one with all those pretty hardwood floors, the one that had ceilings that leaked and leaked and leaked--I could hear the train coming up from Boston, coming down from Bangor. I could hear the long whistle in the mornings, the afternoons, the nights. And it comforted me. Back in New York, our house isn't too far from a set of train tracks, and at night I would lie in bed and stare up into the dark and listen to that train call its way home. That I could still hear that in Maine calmed me. No matter what was happening, no matter how crazy things would get, the train always came through, always announced itself with a long, sad wail.

I can't hear that train anymore. But I can hear the rough cough of a plane engine in the morning, in the night. I can hear the rumble of some single-engined twin propeller as it takes off and lifts into the air. It's not a bad sound, and it's not distracting, but it is there. And it's new. And it makes me lonelier than I could've ever expected.

I'm not saying I don't like my new apartment. I do. It's small and sweet. It's warm. It's cute. But this move has turned into something more than a move. These last few weeks have been awful and cruel for so many reasons--I'll talk about those soon--and there is this thing inside of me, living under my ribs, brushing up against the tender pink netting of my lungs, and it's making it hard to breathe.

But at least there's this: it's dark out when I drive home from school now, and when I come close to my apartment, when I come close to the airport, suddenly the whole world opens up in blue. The color blooms against so much darkness--it's the lights of the runway, and they're guiding me home. And sometimes when I look at those lights, when I see all that brilliant blue opening up against all that black, I feel like maybe I could lift up from the ground and move higher and higher, far away from everything that has kept me so anchored to this earth, to this state and its rocks and salt and sand, and that even if I lose myself in the dark for awhile I'll somehow be able to find my way back. This might be a small thought, but it seems a little like hope, a little like trust, a little like I know that I will find a way to breathe again.

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