This trip home has been hands down the best one I’ve ever taken. Most likely because this trip has not been overshadowed by feelings for The Mr. or a lack of closure on the marriage. Priceless is the word that comes to mind. I want to try to explain to you all how it feels to come here after being in Saudi for a stretch of time, but I’m afraid my words will never be adequate. I want to detail it all for myself so that when I return to the Kingdom and eventually have to deal once again with loneliness, isolation, and anger, I can come back here and dissect how I feel now and try to somehow get these feelings back again when I need them.
I don’t know what it’s like to go to prison, so maybe it’s not a good comparison, but that’s now I feel. Every time I come home, it’s like I’ve been in prison and I’m suddenly free. I catch up on new music, the latest movie trailers, and the increasingly ridiculous TV lineups. I hug old friends and family members I have grown too far apart from in my absence. I look at how their lives have moved along, how children have grown and developed.
Finally, outside the prison walls, I’m free to be myself. I wish I could explain to you how that feels. I’d choose that feeling over love, even.
Being here is like an affair with a previous lover. You remember all of the good times, and the good far outweighs the bad. He knows you, mind, body, and soul. There’s a familiarity about it that leads you to thinking that maybe if you never drifted apart, life together would have been grand. You know it’s just an affair and affairs always end, but oh, while it lasts.
The littlest things–things that most people probably don’t think twice about–send tears rolling down my cheeks. The feeling of comfortable sun and cool wind on my freed skin is intoxicating. Goosebumps form on my arms as the wind tosses and tangles my hair as I drive myself around town with the windows down and music up. The sound of wind blowing through the trees, of birds and crickets singing their songs, of thunder and lightning and raindrops. The smell of flowers and freshly cut grass and bonfires and weekend barbeques instead of exhaust and dust and body odor. It’s humbling and overwhelming and awe inspiring.
Being here is like coming up for air after being held under water. I am drowning in Saudi Arabia. Most days I feel like giving up and letting it drag me further down. And I’m the one who tossed myself into the deep end, which is hard to deal with. I always think I’m fine with my self-imposed position on the back burner, but these trips home always remind me that maybe I’m not fine with it.
I know I’d have struggles no matter where I live. And my God, do I miss the struggles I had here. I can’t tell you how much I miss a 40 hour work week, arguing about politics, paying bills, that ring of salt that builds up at the bottom of your jeans from trudging through too much slushy snow in the winter, getting stuck at a railroad crossing when you’re late for work, trying to squeeze in doctor’s appointments, and complaining about gas prices. I’d take it all back if it mean no more being alone, being so far away from family, no more waking up angry and without direction, no more wasting away some of the best years of my life.
I’ve got 6 days left and I can feel my mind trying to reel my heart in. Don’t be too happy, don’t feel too much relief, don’t laugh too much, and definitely don’t think about love or freedom or happiness because those things don’t belong to you anymore. Don’t imagine what life you could be living because, remember, this isn’t your life anymore. This is just a break from your reality. Don’t get excited. Take it easy. Come back down to Earth and remember that this is nothing but a really expensive dream.