here not there.
This week I’m a bit blue. Christopher is off on a work trip, which isn’t entirely unusual. But this time is different as he’s off to Cambodia – a country where I lived for a year and where I cut my teeth as a researcher abroad.
Christopher has been saving up air miles and seeking out short-term gigs there for months in the hopes that we could go together and I could introduce him to the place and culture that was so formative in my life. I wanted him to taste fish amok, try to sleep in the heavy heat, walk through the markets while sucking on pomelos and mango, feel haunted by Tuol Sleng – all beside me so that at supper that night I could unravel my stories of a year there with him and begin to hear his own. Last week, a great contract sorted out, the reservations were made, we got giddy, I picked out books and knitting projects for the plane and told my boss I’d be away. Everything looked good to go except…no tickets for me. We couldn’t sort out the miles in a way that would give me more than two days there. Tears and hugs and kind words ensued.
So Christopher departed last weekend, both of us heartsick to be apart during this adventure; he with a list in hand of the places he must go and pictures he must take and people he must meet and food he must sample, me with a head and heart full of memories of my year there – both trying and transcendent – wondering what Christopher might intuit about me during two weeks in that place, writing quick email after email to him with memories and reminders and photos and questions.
At home, I’m trying to distract myself from Christopher’s absence with work and chores and projects, but no matter what I do…
I can’t help but enjoy being reminded of that year and imagining my love in that special, troubled, beautiful, hot, complicated, remarkable place.