She was pushing with an intensity that was palpable from our first embrace at baggage claim. I could feel the sleep still stuck inside my eyes and the unknown turning into reckless abandon. The corners were clogged, and still, after all this time, I could hear Alina’s voice telling me, “You have something in your eye.” Lainey had never seen the east coast, and she had this growing infatuation with colonial-era homes and the history that followed them. Salem, in the twilight days of Autumn, the oranges that seem to bleed from the leaves and all the scattered skeletons blow softly up the street—instructed by a gust until they are reduced to nothing, leaving behind only midribs and broken veins. Our excursion was out of a blue deeper than the ocean and wider than the sky. In my head, Massachusetts was as good as a foreign country, and the Cape farther than Antarctica.
On Highway One through Danvers and Newbury Port, Ipswich and Essex, my right-hand gripped Lainey’s knee while her daughter sat quietly in the backseat. This must be what it’s like to have a family, an intrepid look into the lives of others. An imposter among the upright and respectable, I wonder when I will be found out. The truth was protruding from underneath the dissimulating camouflage. The window dressing came undone, and the mannequins meant to improve my posture were lying in a heap on the second floor, cut in half, on the balcony of our beach house.
On the airplane home, I thought that losing track of one’s position is often how one finds themself, but while hurling through the air, I realized I’d been wandering for so long now that I’ve lost track of home. The direction could be any of the four or a combination of two, and I still think I’d miss the exit. The signs are in a language I can’t read, the characters muddled and washed out. Like an old VHS repeatedly taped over, the original content bleeds through to the newest, and while secondary in terms of seniority, they begin to bleed together, the script and scenes all becoming one.