january, i.

Tomorrow is
— Langston Hughes

Overcast, rain, and wind. The force of nature came into life to welcome the beginning of the year. I’m thinking of Patti Smith and her way with words. The last December day was marked with Malbec and Syrah. With home-cooked food, family, and Aretha Franklin. Others were there too: Diana Krall, Seal, the Obama Celebration, Kennedy Center awards of the last couple of years. Chill jazz playlists from SoundCloud. I documented my stream of consciousness of those last few hours. It feels like there could be something to hold onto there. A thread worth unraveling into a story. Something. No word yet. Not since before Christmas. I cannot help but be overcome with self-pity at the reflection that I am, in fact, waiting for him. Still and all this time. Things to write about: the sea, the colors of the sea, the wind, all that is the Mediterranean, all that is home.

december, xii.

The National Gallery, London. December 2017.

I keep certain songs on repeat. For weeks, months, years. Like my thoughts. Maybe if I change the music I listen to, so will my thoughts. A novel idea.

I flew to London for a weekend. To walk the streets, visit my favorite cafes, get lost in the streets of Marylebone. To laugh and be at ease for once. My world hasn’t been the same since.

We’ll always have Istanbul.

I am not alone this week and it disturbs my flow. No more visitors next year.

I’ll be home soon. I’m ready for the year’s end.

I agreed to a friendly dinner with the sunshine. He’s going to flip out when I tell him my stories. I am grateful that I can tell him to begin with.

I’ve decided to start working on my morning pages. To write lists again. I need to keep my mind still.

What he said to me. Everything replays as if on a loop in my head. But there’s nowhere to go from here.

I don’t know what you want me to say. The truth and nothing else.

Hong Kong grips at me. Three months. I’ve never been there on my own before, I’ve never been in the city without living there. I’m scared I won’t be strong enough against the gravity of memories.

december, vii.

A month later, I come back.

I don’t post anything anymore because I can’t write what I want to write. It’s a feeling that suffocates me.

I turned to my paper journals, handwritten, soft with sentences and secrets between pages.

I resent you for playing games with me and yet I don’t make it stop because it’s a game I’ll win. I don’t know at whose expense yet. Hopefully, not my own. Or yours.

The glimmer of hope will kill me.

Stay away from the ones you love too much. Those are the ones who will kill you.

Donna Tartt’s Secret History. Not like the Goldfinch but still, I’m unable to peel away from the pages.

The list of things I’m putting off has grown too long for me to bear.

אל תשאלי אותי על בית

Tel Aviv, Israel. November.

Eventually, the sun came out again. At least for a while.

I slipped away into summer for four days at the end of November. Tel Aviv was everything I needed.

Warm air, streets full of bougainvillea trees, oranges, lemons, oleanders, and olive trees. Everything that is Mediterranean engulfed me and I felt right at home. I walked to Carmel Market one afternoon and purchased bags of chili, curcuma, and the Dead Sea mud.

I bought a box of sweet baklava and ate it on a beach with my pants rolled up, barefoot, and with the sun in my back.

Stumbled into a second-hand bookshop and walked away with Aesop’s Fables. Favorite childhood stories rediscovered twenty years later. The one about The Ant and the Grasshopper. My maternal grandmother would tell me this story over and over.

As I write this, a cup of nana tea steams on the table and Idan Raichel keeps me company. It is enough to take me back in time and across the sea, across continents. But I am restless for another set of flight tickets.

In those days, I survived less and lived more. Most of the time, I ride the waves with ease. Sometimes, the tide is too high and yet there’s nothing else to do but push through it.

The trick is to read between the lines and listen to the wind. It whispers quietly if you know how to listen. I’ve learned that the universe has my back.

Tel Aviv. Far away from everything and yet I was close to feeling like myself than I have all year.

The sea waves melted away my anxiety. I’ll be back. I’ll come home to myself again.