Home, a place we forget. 

I’m at a bus station in New Paltz, waiting to ride an hour and a half to the Port Authority before riding an hour train to BK.

Woodstock, Saguerties, Highlands were my weekend.

We got new tattoos, Bee and I. A thing to be acquired. A pain we chose, to awaken, to manifest, to make real or visually permanent. Are we trying to eliminate the need to explain? It never works. Yet here we are, new ink, same women, somehow praying for the difference.

We stayed with an incredible family. An artist I worked with on the Inanna show over a year ago, Sharon, opened her home to us. We stayed in a converted porch-office space, feeling for all it was like we were in a club house outside. I’ve never slept so well. Sharon homeschools. I walked into her beautiful, lively, lived in home and knew right away. One doesn’t simply forget what a Saxon math textbook signifies on the shelf. They made us dinner and a pancake breakfast. We played Uno. We talked late into the night. I’ve never felt so at home. And home, a real place with walls and a roof and a keyboard in the corner and books lining the living room, all previously read waiting for you to pick them up again.

Upstate feels like rural Missouri. Apple picking, being on a farm, transfigured me back to being 8 years old on my own Papa Ribbies’ farm.

I’ve run so far from the things that made me.

I’ve run so far, turning my face again and again from my childhood. I cannot look at my trauma. I cannot remember the things that burned me to the ground. I chose not to. I reject the memories, I do not sift through what’s real and what’s not, because the distinction is too dangerous for me.

And yet.

By happenstance. By chance. By good fortune. I’m in upstate New York. I’m in the home of homeschoolers. I’m on a farm.

I know myself. I know the smells. I know the sounds.

Three weeks ago now, nearly, in Jefferson Market Garden, I was overwhelmed by the smells of geraniums. My mother told me my Grammy used to grow them on her front and back porch. When the smell hit me, in the middle of Brooklyn where I have never been, I sobbed and sobbed in the sun light, craziness be damned there was no one around. I could not stop it.

I cannot predict how memory assaults me. I cannot chose how it finds me. It is as alive, as real, as the terrors of trauma. It follows me, in the glorious hollows of my synapses just the same.

Have I ever forgotten anything? Have I only ever run, hoping if I were to turn around it would be an empty stretch of highway? It is all the things that made me. The third thing–the good, the bad, the middle. I am the third thing, all the things that made me, alive now.

Grateful. I am still now, and grateful.

I love you, I miss you, I hope to see you soon.

More soon.

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