January 18, 2013
One form of loneliness is to have a memory and no one to share it with. -Phyllis Rose
As I was watching a clip satirizing experiences on public transit, I was struck by a sudden sense of sadness… because I was entertained by the video. In my wanderings around Europe, I have lived through many similar situations, but nearly all of them have been alone.
I have shared some of my more dramatic mishaps with friends and family, and on occasion will share a less exciting one that relates to my current situation.
But this second hand experience does not compete.
When I first went abroad, I was with a girl named Jordyn. Now, we hadn’t interacted much prior to our trip to Poland, and after a few months, our paths diverged again. But one of the most beautiful things that Jordyn and I had was that a year, two years later, we were able to sit down and talk. We shared memories, dusted off old jokes, looked at pictures and reminisced.
A similar situation happened this last spring break, when my fellow RYE student Amanda and I were back in Nitra, four years after we had lived there. We retraced our steps, visited our old haunts, made new memories in this place we’d once called home.
Every movement we make leaves a trace of ourselves.
I have no problems traveling alone.
But it does leave one… lonely.
No one with whom to recollect the Munich train station when we made a fifteen minute change to go to Rome.
No one with whom to share the excitement of the Parisian train station when it appears in Hugo.
No one with whom to laugh about accidentally riding to the end of the line in Amsterdam and being kindly mocked (and then helped) by the tram drivers.
No one that strolled through airports all over Europe, getting stamps in passports, buying a beer simply because that was the only word you KNEW was the same so that you could use wifi at a pub in Croatia, begrudgingly taking a taxi, then realizing how impossible it would have been to walk this time.
Memories litter my soul.
My words, written across emails and journals, scraps of paper and facebook posts. Sometimes I am afraid that those words are the only thing convincing me that it was all real.
So as my retro suitcase sits unused in my closet, I shrug my shoulders.
It is rather lonely, but I still wouldn’t trade it for the world.