Heading Back East

The beloved toddler and I head back East tomorrow and, as with every journey, I feel a little rip in my heart. Years ago, I made a fast friend on a summer course at Oxford (she was my teacher and I fell in love with her mind, her sense of humor, her energy). On leaving, she consoled me with the notion that instead of leaving her behind, I now had a loved one in a new place, one that, before then, I had never visited before.

With every journey, I think about this conversation and the metaphor from Mrs. Dalloway of one’s friends being attached to one by a thin thread. I imagine my heart as a globe. Every departure makes a little tear but the tear heals into a strengthening scar, so that each place where I have loved ones becomes a raised bump on the map of my heart, the thickest places being the ones endowed not with the biggest population but the most love and connection. Then, each journey, too, is like a thread, binding the globe of my heart more tightly, protecting it in a new way against future tears (and tears). That Seattle to Jersey City thread is getting thicker by the moment.