The bleached white sand hurts my eyes as I turn my face away from the blistering sun. I have taken the scenic route, which basically means I’ve been walking around in circles for the last hour.
I asked for freedom, and I got it.
Freedom means having no-one with me to figure out where I’m going.
Freedom means having no-one with me to rant about the weather and the people and the small town.
Freedom means having no-one to understand me. To help me.
I feel so lost, wandering without a purpose. Having people rambling streams of directions at me in a language I don’t quite understand. And yet, I act like I do. To prevent myself from falling into the full scale panic I seem to be teetering on the edge of.
At some point, the rambles turn into words inside my slow translating head. At some point, I find where I’m supposed to be going. The same building I’ve passed five times in my pointless search for meaning in all the road sides printed in an unknown language pointing me in directions I can’t decipher. I feel so exhausted, both mentally and physically. I feel so drained and irritable. I feel so alone.
This place is so confusing and scorching and disorienting and lonely. This place is so different and strange. This place is what I asked for. This place is freedom.
Once I’ve completed my task, I find my way back to the apartment, burnt four shades darker than when I left it. My apartment . But this place does not feel like home. This is my couch, I picked it out myself. My couch, my bed, my coffee table. Everything is mine, and yet, somehow, it all feels so foreign to me.
I collapse onto the bed, unable to think of anything but how badly my feet hurt, how badly my eyes hurt, how badly my skin hurts, how badly my heart hurts. Longing for a home I cannot find here. Longing for a home that is familiar. Longing for a home I’ve left far behind. This place is not home.
Home is waking up in the same bed I’ve slept in since I was 10 years old.
Home is a hot, cooked meal waiting for me when I step into the door.
Home is my mother disapproving of my piercings and looking disdainfully at my tattoos.
Home is full of joy, laughter, tension, anger, love.
But this place, this place is cold and strange and empty. This place is what I’ve always wanted. Independence. But, everything comes with strings.
In this place, I have no protection, no support. In this place, I am afraid. This place is scary and huge and small and full of people I have no desire to know, people who will never know me. But this is the place that I chose. This place is freedom.
And so, here I am, in the town I asked for, in this apartment that I chose:
Alone. Afraid. And free.