Par Avion

Trip Start Mar 29, 2005
Trip End Jul 30, 2006

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Flag of Senegal  ,
Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Dear Senegal,

I left you a week ago – the same way I met you. My heart in my throat.

From the first, I could only compare you to my only other real experience. You were different of course, in so many ways. But I was fascinated to see how I responded to you, how I changed anew, how I remembered how much I liked to change.

I loved you for that. I thrilled in the chance to fill, to grow, into the space you gave me in the short time I had.

I studied you first, careful as always. So some things didn’t surprise me. I worked on the language, the mannerisms, and the traditions. What made you laugh, what made you smile, what made you sad. What you dreamed for the future, the past you wanted leave behind.

And so I appeared to you, out of the dark.

But other things gave me pause: The rhythm of your life, how who you are changed over time, how your language was different than the one I thought was all-important and thought I knew so well. You were more than I expected, yet your heart was simple.

I spun, reeling in confusion, as who you really were overtook me like a gust of wind. But afterward, we were both still there, growing together, swaying in the breeze and the night.

Then, I took you for granted. I felt that I understood you, that there were no more challenges. I got comfortable in my limited vocabulary, what I could get away with. I looked over the horizon, looked for the next sun.

And, I lost you.

I’m without you now. Who we were together changed who I am now. But I can’t help feel there was more for me to learn, more for me to change. And now – I can’t.

Maybe I’ll see you again. Maybe I won’t. It might not be up to me. But I’ll keep growing, keep changing.

And I’ll miss you.
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