You’re in one place. I’m in another. It was my dad’s birthday the other day. Soon it will be my brother’s. Then my mother’s and that’s not even starting to mention friends’ birthdays that I‘ve missed and am yet to miss. I see friends update their Facebook status and get the whisper of news from afar – from that place that once was home – and I get that funny sense of progression, of life moving on; that we’re progressing without sharing.
Of course, we’re progressing all of the time; time races ahead and we chase to keep up. It takes us along highroads and by-roads, stops at junctions then jumps the lights at others. We’re all moving forwards in our different ways, with different events, turns and adventures. New people come into our lives; people leave with or without notice. It happens. But, the distance between us highlights the changes, and how no matter that we switch notes and swap stories there is something missing. Before I left for India, I caught up with an old, old friend. She’s been in Australia for the last few years; we’ve stayed in touch, we’ve shared stories and stared at photographs pasted upon virtual walls – but something was in danger of disappearing. Maybe there is only so much time that we can go without seeing our friends and our family.
For time has a habit of changing us and so I wonder how do people who have evolved and have not shared stay familiar and stay friendly? Without common ground to stand upon, how do we keep up with one another? Of course the answer is love, of course it is. But I ask these questions since I converse with friends and family in my dreams; in my dreams I’m in England and I’m with friends but a part of me knows it must get back to India. My mind is there, my body is here and it’s a funny transition; it’s funny-odd to be here and to know that perhaps home is a place that I shall not visit again any time so soon.
It’s funny-odd, too, not having Internet connections or useful timezones or work patterns to enable me to make easy contact with friends, to chat, to catch up. Without the Internet, it is dreams, letters or zero (really, Skype is amazing, though). A text message here or there drops through and it’s so nice to receive something familiar and friendly from the other side, so to speak. And there are visceral connections that I hope cannot be broken by time apart, by distance, by a multitude of new experiences and travel companions.
Ultimately, it’s to do with what the future holds, too, I guess. If I stay here and you stay there then… will we forget; move on and when is too long just too, too long? How do you return home after such a time away? When you are changed and I are changed, what binds us and ensures there’s a future’s for us, too?
As you put one version of your life aside, another version is created and perhaps so on and so on until there’s a long line of different versions of one persons life trailing around the globe like a hermit crab and its many shells. Thankfully I cannot be in more than one place at one time – although my dreams insinuate that I can and they seem so vivid that it feels I am in more than one place. That’s another story, again.
In short, it is weird being away from home for an extended period of time; it does things to one’s mind and makes one ask all sorts of funny questions I never asked before such as who and where next?