Retro thoughts.

October 5, 2009

                 I had not returned to Jorat in 2 years. When I had left I was angry, scared and hopeful. And now, as I rode in a car, along the sea road, like I had so many times in that ’07 summer, thoughts and feelings unexpectedly rushed to the surface. Nostalgia: usually reserved by the populous for cliché memories of past loves is reserved by me for the flatness and heat, the burning wavy lines that made ratty Ladas take on fantastic shapes, the noise and dirty air, the tension below the surface of people at once restless for something new but languid in heat that suffocated even the sharpest thoughts, the same fisherman casting his line next to the spewing sewage pipe-it shocked me on my first morning walk; the smell of oil and excrement that became familiar, the thin film of blackness that covered my clothing and skin after every wander or stolen moment of peace smoaking a forbidden cigarette- Nate and I and Misvig would sneak to the sea shore at dusk, huddling in the wind to light our Wests, mostly not talking, just being and looking out across the sea-Jorat; frighteningly strange for a small American girl-the men yelling nasty remarks about the paleness of my skin, ‘Fish’ they called me and still do-I had never thought to miss it, the sleepless nights, listening to the sea, but that is what I remember most distinctly, the jet lag and culture shock causing nights of wakefulness and tossing, the first night I couldn’t sleep, when the yard was finally quite I thought a water pump was running, but no-walking out my door to the crumbling stoop, I could hear it, waves, a small sound of water, a backdrop to everything else, calming and distant-when he would yell and scream and hit the family, I would wait, straining to hear the distant crashing of waves on the sea shells that made up the beach-every pause in the one sided argument, I would try and catch the calm, beyond the sounds of hitting and stomping and distress. That is why I had left with anger and fear, and now, riding in the car, to the wedding of the daughter, I realized that those petty emotions had gone, foolishly I tried to conjure up bitterness, but nothing, a breath of calm, so often I had despaired over the lack of ability to change myself into a better person, and of course, no one can be truly good-but the calm is knowing, being in Jorat and not being angry anymore.

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