I don’t even look forward to visiting the Bay Area anymore. I dread parts of it: the packing and unpacking, the futon-surfing, relying on others (thank you dear friends) to house and occasionally transport me. None of it appeals to me.
But then I land in SFO. And as BART pulls me closer and closer to my destination, through Daly City, 16th Mission, and Montgomery, my heartbeat quickens. A part of me that remains dormant when I’m elsewhere wakes and I feel myself coming into my own being. Then I wonder how I ever left this place and when I’ll be back again.
Jetlag is real, even when it’s only an hour-long flight. Somewhere between “fasten your seat belts” and beverage service, my grasp of the present slips and I fall asleep. I land groggily, taking in my surroundings as I walk through the airport.
Where am I? How did I get here? Was I just on a flight? I must have been.
I tug at a loose strand of my memory, it gives a little. “I’ve wasted too much time on science,” a voice says. I struggle to hear the rest of the conversation but it’s already spiraling away from me.
I see two tangled strands around the corner. I chase them as they heave and writhe and I realize they are two bodies, groping in the darkness. Just when I’m about to reach out and touch them, they dissolve into fine mist.
Now I’m at the heart of the matter; I can see the tangled mass that is my memories. I search for an opening. I pick up a promising lead and it asks, “Do you run?” I stare at it with confusion. “No,” I respond. And my answer is echoed back to me three times, and the question is echoed back to me three times, and the entire mass is unraveling, disintegrating.
Just tell me how it made me feel. I don’t need the details, but please, just tell me how I felt. Without that, I am lost.
At my plea, the mass breathes renewed life. It comes towards me, picking up speed as it suddenly recognizes my existence. I prepare myself for contact until I see Despair, barely hidden behind Hope.
I break into a run. I run until I know my memories are lost to me, until I see the light ahead, until I am swallowed by the sun.
I’m back in San Diego. The summers here are so perfect I wonder why I ever left.