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The trees outside the bedroom window are bare, as is the wisteria and the grapevine. I won’t be here to see the eruption of buds and foliage that, each spring, never disappoints. Incredibly this same barren space will be bursting with luxuriant layers of flowers, leaves, insects and intense scents in a few short months. But, I won’t be reading under the canopy of wisteria, enjoying the fragrance of lavender and oregano carried on a gentle breeze.

This space, which I currently occupy, will be filled by someone else.

The vibrations from our shouts of triumph and our verbal beatings during arguments, the soft delicate sounds of contentment and bubbling laughter; all the noises we produced will have floated away by the time others will have arrived to take our place.

Last night I walked the streets of our semi dark neighborhood. Streets lit by the occasional yellow street lamp. I strolled under the signature drizzle of this part of the world feeling thick and heavy.

Like a snake, I needed to shed some skin. In this way, it would still be me…only lighter. It is absolutely vital that I do this so as not to be slowed down by a never ending compare and contrast (both conscious and unconscious).

In fact, the past year has been a consistent albeit quasi imperceptible pulling away from all that is familiar. A slow gentle withdrawal consisting of fewer coffees, decreased attendance to events and less exploring.

The thick coat of encounters, experiences and sentiments needs to be neatly folded and tucked away in a drawer or top shelf, out of sight but still accessible.

After so many years of being here, yet still occupying the sidelines, as a spectator, I am at long last reclaiming control of my life and heading back to the mother ship. I go without any naiveté, for while I have been away, home base has also undergone deep transformation. But home is home and will always be, nonetheless, recognizable and necessary.

Leaving will be bittersweet, as all departures are, but returning to the place where it all began is viscerally required at this point in time.

I am ready.

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