A wrinkle in time
As soon as I turned the corner driving to our old neighborhood in Sharjah on Thursday, I started crying. I am well aware of the fact that I am an emotional mover, but the tears really caught me off guard, not least because they were…happy? I am so glad to be visiting this place again. It’s like hallowed ground to me – it’s where my girls grew up and where my son was born, where I got my MA and the bulk of my work experience to that point, where Jeremy and I adventured and camped and practically homesteaded, staking out a place for our family in the big, wide world.
Is it possible to know that you need to move away from a place, and decide to move, and believe that it is what you should do, and look forward to the bright future that awaits, and still…not want to leave? Something very like that happened to us when it came time to move away from the UAE and for the sake of pure survival at the time, I seem to have locked up all those complicated emotions into a cupboard that only now, with this visit, has been flung open. Thus the tears.
And it is eerie how no time at all seems to have passed. It’s an honest-to-goodness wrinkle in time, the way the girls especially have picked up where they left off. It warms my heart to see their neighborhood friendships going as strong as they ever did, despite the passing of 2.5 years. After our first day, I had already decided that this trip was worth it just to be here and rekindle those friendships – if that had been the only day we could spend here, it was worth the ticket price and the travel time. And I felt like that again, the second day. And again, the third.
We went swimming on our first afternoon here (Thursday) and I was overwhelmed by memories from almost a decade ago. We arrived at our new home back then in the heat of September, when it’s too hot to swim during the day so you go at night when it’s cooled down a bit. I was reading Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything at the time, so as I floated in the water I looked up at the stars and imagined all their parts and pieces and functions and relationships as they were being explained to me in that book. It’s a memory that is wholly anchored to our beginning in the UAE, but as I swam in that pool again on Thursday, a couple of years after our departure from this home, I relived it. And it felt like yesterday! A wrinkle in time, and all those years just melted away.