I’ve always felt a little trapped in my hometown. It’s not the kind of town that’s small enough where everybody knows everybody, but the place itself knows me too well. There, I can never seem to feel free and at ease. Some repercussions ripple on.
It would never seem to the unsuspecting eye, but I don’t like to be known. I prefer to play the anonymous stranger: the one who has no ties, no obligations to stay and fall in line with expectations. I’m no good at commitment. Regardless of the people I fool, I know better than to commit to a lie and to live it as my life. Something tells me that there is a bitter aftertaste to that—one I wouldn’t be able to stand if it were to last a lifetime. You know what they say: Burden shapes image and image oppresses self.
Well, at least Mom and Dad would say that.
It’s slightly amusing, really. Some people insist that I was built for leaving. I’m not the victim in their eyes. I’m the frightened pup, tail tucked between legs, too cowardly to face anything of remote discomfort. There is some truth to that, I suppose. Maybe I even had a hand in leading them to it.
Like clockwork, I come, and I go. Before I leave, I promise to return, and when I return, I’m desperate to leave again.
Every time is the same. I catch a flight to some faraway destination, and I don’t come back until I’m ready. It’s naive, isn’t it? Naive to think that I can afford to wait for readiness to come. Something in me just doesn’t get it. Or maybe it doesn’t want to.
Like each time is the first, I whisk myself away to find my head and stir my emotions, and when I feel I’ve gotten enough out of it to last a good stretch of time, I return. But the reservations come back stronger, and I return a semblance of someone who was never familiar enough to begin with. I return behind a wall built so high that it prevents the passage of everything. Everything except my vulnerability. The more I try to protect it, the more it confines me, threatening to expose me.
And so I hesitate to return.