And so I find myself just hours before my departure sitting at the dining room table in Dennis’ parents’ house. It is a beautiful sunny day, a little on the humid side, and at this time tomorrow, I will be on the plane, four hours from descending into Sao Paulo. It’s a quiet day. I have spent it mostly packing, doing laundry, and online, waiting to hear from Dennis and doing last minute organizational things (i.e: eating coleslaw, taking a shower, and watching the America’s Next Top Model marathon on MTV.) I love America.
Remember that scene in “When Harry Met Sally,” right at the end when Harry comes running into the New Year’s Eve party to announce to Sally that he loves her? And he says to her, “I came here tonight because when you find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” And then she gets all mad and says, “See? That’s just like you Harry! You say something nice and it makes it impossible for me to hate you! And I hate you, Harry, I really hate you.” (Meanwhile she’s tearing up and we all know she doesn’t really hate Harry. She really loves him.
Recently, I’ve felt like Sally. (I won’t go into the story about how my mother made up a completely imaginary little sister for me named “Sally” who I actually really did hate. She was a terribly bitchy little hallucination for me, but quite the angel for my mother who wasn’t hesitant about telling me how “Sally cleans her room,” and “Sally kisses her mother at night,” and “Sally eats all her food and realizes that there are starving children in the world who will never have access to pathetic mushy stirfried vegetables served over a mountain of white minute rice like you do right now, Gina.” To this day, any mention of Sally causes my nerves to ignite. I have no problem telling my mother that I’ve seen Sally on numerous occasions, on the corner, pregnant and pimping herself out to support her heroine habit. Really.)
But back to the Sally from the movie. Sally in the movie spent practically the whole time not seeing Harry, the love of her life, in front of her. He really did love her and she wanted nothing to do with him. So if I’m Sally, New Haven is Harry. I spent all of two years saying, “Ew, get away, you’re gross,” while New Haven did everything it could to be cool and look pretty and be the home to all the people I love (except my Mom, of course.) And here I am, on the eve of my departure to Brazil, and all of a sudden, I’m realizing on this beautiful day, I really hate New Haven in the same way Sally really hated Harry on New Years Eve in the movie. It’s a particularly crappy realization, considering the next time I’ll be here is in four and a half months, which when I really look at it, doesn’t seem like a long time, but we all know that as soon as I get to Brazil, time’s just going to slow by and it’ll be like the longest countdown to a New Year’s Eve midnight ever in the world. It’d be nice to stay here simply because now I know. You know? Like Harry, I want the rest of my life to start as soon as possible, but in New Haven.
Can you believe I almost forgot to pack my computer? I’m looking around the room like, “What else, what else….? Oh yes, these three chapsticks. Well, that’s just about it!” And then suddenly I see my tiny computer over in the corner weeping and sobbing and calling me names and I remember that’s pretty much the whole reason I came back to the States in the first place. God, what a terrible mother I am. Speaking of being a terrible mother, I really will be. Holding Donovan the other day when I went to visit, his face crumpled up into this folded painful mess, letting out a cry so loud I panicked and my arms nearly gave out. We were sitting on the couch so he wouldn’t have gone anywhere, but I threw him back to his mother and sat for the rest of the time content on the floor with the cat. (I also recently had a dream I gave birth to a cat, so if that’s not a clue as to future motherhood, I don’t know what is.)
So, just a few hours left. We’re driving to New York tonight, leaving here at 2am. I really don’t even know where to go in the airport, but if I give myself a few hours to figure it out, I should be fine by my 6am flight. I don’t know what I was thinking booking a flight so freakin’ early from New York. In these final hours, I am going to hang with Dennis and choke back tears, letting them loose in the end at the gate like always, boarding the plane with a bright red face and a snotty nose, sniffing and telling people I’m moving back to Brazil. I don’t get much sympathy after that admission, so I try to hold off as much as possible to garner all the “Ahhhs,” and “Ohhh, sweethearts” I can. Listen, my imaginary whore sister Sally might crave drugs and affordable paternity tests for her five cracked out red-headed children, but I crave attention. And God help me if I don’t get it.
Well, I’m out. I need to enjoy these last few hours of traffic and humidity as I go drive down to Stratford to pick Dennis up at work. I’ll touch base again when I get back to Brazil, if all goes according to Delta’s plans, tomorrow night, around 10pm EST. By then I should be back in my apartment. God, that’s hard to believe. But it’s all good. There’s one more year, starting tomorrow, of writing. Another season of “A Year Here/A Year There” begins in twenty four hours.
What adventures will our heroine (not the drug) have this year? Stay tuned for posts like, “I Thought I Told The Salesman I Didn’t Need a Bag, Not I Didn’t Need Balls,” “How Many People Does It Take To Mail A Postcard?” and “Stop Staring, They Really Are That Small.” A Year Here/A Year There: another year of non-stop insecurities in Campinas, Brazil.