July 17, 2010 § Leave a comment

Tomorrow morning I will leave Germany. I’ve stripped my room down and prepared for flight. After two nights of coaxing, cramming, negotiating with zippers and pockets, my bags are re-stuffed and propped by the door.

My heart, too, is very full.

I can’t describe the thousand thoughts which overrun me. The rational part of it, the memory, escapes me. Instead, I remember the music.

I sang Hallelujah at our going-away soiree at the request of a bevy of friends. I gave in, despite my reluctance to step in front of the crowd, because there can be no resistance in your heart when you’re waiting with friends under the shade of sycamore trees, and their compliments splash over you, warm and generous as the sunshine that spills into the cracks of the cobblestones.

I won’t remember what I said, or sipped, or saw. But I will remember what I felt. A few among the impressions and heart-swells that will live with me as I take my leave from this beautiful country:

The radiance of friends’ faces when they stood for me as I stood for them onstage; these eighty kindred souls who just last month were eighty strangers. Their validation crashing over me like a wave. Hallelujah, I sang. And hallelujah they echoed in their applause.

The tears that clouded my vision and streaked my host-mother’s face as I found her in the crowd and clasped her hands. The strange currency of laughter and tears, nothing counterfeit, everything earned in unselfconscious friendship and openheartedness. Promises and embraces, pictures and addresses purchased with the abandon that only the impending inflation of time and togetherness can bring.

With only ten-minutes left before the tramride, the last toast, the desperate holding-off of the last goodbyes. How, at the last, every goodbye became a thank you and a love you. A be well and a live well. Because that’s at the core of everything else we tried to say.

And, as a text blinked in to my little phone to inform me that my brother and friends had taken flight, were on their way to meet me — the glow that filled the dull gouges of homesickness, to balance my regret of the friends I leave behind.

Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.


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