“Wake up,” a small voice whispered to her from inside.
She was on a bus from Seoul, Macklemore in her ears, ministering to and prodding her as she thought about her life. Her eyes were closed, but she was hardly asleep, as it had been one of those weekends where you’re forced to spend too much time with yourself and so you’re half-resting, half-thinking but mostly just trying to block it all out.
Eyes shut, head nodded, breath slow, she tried to slip into sleep or to lose herself into the lyrics of her latest obsession.
That was the thing about her, and it was one of the many things she had tried to leave behind when she moved across the world: she dove headfirst into anything. Even a rapper–if it was raw, if it was real, if it touched her, really touched her,
then she was obsessed with it.
It was part of what made her feel alive,
but lately she was less into feeling alive and more into saving face, which she guessed was a great thing since she’d moved to Asia.
But when she got to Korea, she found that the rumors were just lies–that the Koreans she’d met were just as direct and honest and real, or else as infuriatingly indirect and into covering their own asses, as any people from the U.S. she’d ever met, and so she spent a decent amount of time thinking in passing about how marvelous/disappointing a thing it is to be on the other side of the world and yet feel like your life is exactly the same, almost.
That was when she allowed herself to think at all,
because she mostly just allowed herself to be pulled along, mute and complicit as she tried to make her pace in life fit what seemed to be everyone else’s.
Mostly, she just wanted to be different.
This time, she wanted it to be different from before.
She had understood when her new friend had remarked in passing that most of the types who settled overseas were running from something; she recognized that quality in herself, although she didn’t admit it at the time because she mostly wanted to live and breathe only surface things, and avoid emotional honesty if at all possible.
And perhaps unsurprisingly in fulfilling that mission something inside of her had fallen asleep, and she found herself for the first time in her life with no direction, no motivation, and no real goals for the future. The thought that had started with “enjoy your achievement” had taken root and sprouted as “you have arrived–the hard part’s over,” and she found that her mind, her passion, her creativity, and her heart, exhausted from years of exertion, had collectively decided to take a nap.
And none of this might have even mattered if it hadn’t been for the hours she’d spent on her couch by herself–something that always showed her immediately what was inside. When she was at peace, it was her favorite pastime, nothing but her, Netflix and her Kindle. When she wasn’t at peace, she would watch coming-of-age movies about life and love and wonder why it was never her, and then she would remember all the times she’d got it wrong, and those things collectively would start to break down her fences.
And so she sank into the luxury seat on the bus trip back from Seoul and she listened to Macklemore because it was the first thing in a while that made her really feel, and she closed her eyes to fall asleep, but something inside her told her it was time to wake up.
And she wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she pictured herself with a cello and knew that was the first step; for 10 years her cello had been her extension of herself and she had carted it with her everywhere, even if she almost never played it. Its presence reminded her constantly of a part of her that she would always seek to cultivate, but when she left for Korea she had locked it in storage,
a metaphor of she ever knew one, looking back.
And so she decided that it starts with a cello and it would probably end in the place she was always running from, because it seemed her greatest obsessions, heartaches and losses shared a core with her creativity, her vision, her own unique movement and flow through life, and apparently it was time to go back to that place again.