A girl sent me a friend request today on Facebook, and I wouldn’t have accepted if it hadn’t been for the fact that we went to Germany together back two years ago. She had just put up a bunch of photos from Germany, and I looked through the entire album and tagged some pictures. And, for some reason, I started crying. I didn’t know what it was. But, as I went through the first few pictures, I saw the palace, and then I saw the river, and Heidelberg, and towns whose names I can’t even remember any more, and I cried. I cried so much that I thought my throat was going to close off and that I was never going to be whole again. I cried because I missed Germany, but the longing I felt was so much stronger. It was as though a little piece of me was left behind there and that, try as I may, it will never come back. And, maybe, as I looked through those pictures, I realised just where that piece was. Or maybe I finally realised that it had been gone in the first place.
Leaving Germany had been terrible. I couldn’t say goodbye enough to Barbara and her mother. My host family had been amazing, and a day doesn’t go by when I’m not reminded of my time there. We hugged goodbye outside of the U-bahn, and I cried. We walked together into the station, and we hugged and cried some more. And, as I stepped onto the train with my luggage, I could hardly see Barbara or her mum’s face, because tears were flooding from my eyes so quickly. They probably couldn’t see me either, because they were crying just as much.
I don’t know how I built that strong of a connection with them in only three weeks. Sure, Barbara had stayed with me for three weeks before that, but I felt so bonded with them and the country. Never before have I just felt so terrible for leaving. My time there was everything I could have imagined and then some; it was unfortunate that the rest of the kids on my trip complained about their host families. I had been blessed.
I still see the door opened in front of me, though, and I feel my right hand holding onto my suit case. I feel the tears, hot, rolling down my cheeks and stinging my eyes. And I can see them. Oh, I can see them standing two feet below me, five feet away, crying and waving. I can see their faces so clearly through the tears, even though I know that I couldn’t have. I see it all. I relive it all the time. And it bring back the feeling of cutting off a piece of myself to throw to them. Here, keep my this part of my heart with you. I don’t think that I can take it back.
Sometimes, I feel very lost. I feel lost in this place that I live in. I feel like it doesn’t quite fit me, or maybe it’s something that’s not quite real. I worry if I’m alive. I worry if I’m seeing all the beauty that I can. I worry that there really isn’t any beauty.
It’s why I go down to the Missouri River as often as I do. Sometimes, I just need to take a walk by it, throw some pebbles into the ice, sit on a bench and think. Then I get coffee and read and walk some more. The agedness off Main Street reminds me of Europe. Sure, nothing there is six hundred years old like the homes in Rothensburg, but it’s a start. The quaintness, the feeling. I love it, and I miss it when I’m away. Whenever I go back home, I have to go to Picasso’s to get some coffee, read, and then walk around. And, during this summer, you can bet that I will be spending nearly every day down there that I can. I’ll dress up quite nicely. Eclectically. I’ll read an old book with my coffee. The tourists will take pictures of me to show to friends, “Oh look, there were people in town. So quaint. They act like they don’t have a car in the world.” I’ll stare at the river beyond what I need to, wonder, meet new people, see new people.
And I’ll probably think too much. But that’s a problem that I’ve always had.
It’s what makes me start crying when I think about Germany in the first place.