Tomorrow, I will leave Dundee, this strange little city that has been my home for almost a year.
Given a choice, I would be spending my last days walking every last inch of the town, memorizing the gently curving gray stone facades, the colorful shopfronts, the immaculately manicured green spaces (and the green spaces that have escaped the manicuring). I would eat in all of the places I have wanted to eat all year long. I would smell some small percentage of the thousands of flowers throughout the city. I would walk the path through the allotments up the law, smell the chest-high mint, listen to the wind in the grass as I stared down at the smooth glass of the Tay. Instead I have been largely housebound, broken ankle, packing, working.
Right now, my shirt smells of a friend’s cologne, lingering from the hug he gave me, and I kind of want to wear it forever. They all came over tonight, sitting on my couches, laughing and talking. We brainstormed new names for design ethnography–including “Benevolent Espionage” and “Contexual Idea Agriculture”. Cora brought me an elderflower and lime cider, and Caoimhe brought fruit and supplies to make chip sandwiches. We spread butter and “red sauce” (ketchup) on soft white bread and folded it around chips we’d made in the oven, and then we all and laughed and laughed and laughed, about everything. Ilya gave me a lucky two pence piece that he and another friend had found together, and Neha had drawn me an adorable card with a sheep. I have never felt so fortunate, or so loved, though I felt that the hugs I gave were awkward and inadequate, the crutches standing in the way of my overwhelming affection for these wonderful people.
In some ways this would be so much easier if everyone here detested me. Instead, they are so loving, beyond kind, and beyond wonderful, and insist on reminding me of everything I am giving up by going home. In reality I am only expediating the inevitable–we cannot stay here indefinitely. Our homes are all in other places.
But still, the leaving tears at my soul. Making this little city my own, as much as possible, in the year I have been here, makes it so much more painful to leave it. The roots I threaded down through the rocky hillside during the cold damp of the winter are now being ripped up. Soon, I will find myself, once again, a transplant. I sometimes wonder how many more times I can be transplanted before the continued shock kills me, like a rosebush moved around one too many times.
I am worried about the return. I am worried that I will never again have a community like the one we built here. I am a little afraid to be alone again.
I am going to have to make a list of all of the things I am looking forward to in Oklahoma, or I think I may never stop mourning the loss of my life here in Dundee.