The thing about the urge to run, the crazy cannot-possibly-stay-where-I-am urge to run, is that it immobilises me. Fleeing something hard in my life is no longer an option and so I stay. I am tied to this city – this city I love – because my child has a life and a father here, and staying is important. So I cannot move no matter how restless I am.
I imagine myself as a painter in South America, living in a shack painted bright blue on the inside, terracotta on the outside, with climbing plants and wooden furniture and I wear overalls and eat mangoes and paint pictures no one ever sees. I have a lover who serenades me with flamenco guitar at dusk, nay, two lovers. I walk through the village and smile enigmatically at the women with chubby cheeked children tied to them with bright fabric and even though I have picked up the language I do not speak to them because how could I ever speak of what I left behind when I fled in fear.
I imagine myself a war correspondent; a reckless, ruthless, true-story teller. I tell other people’s stories because I cannot face my own. I live in small rooms with my laptop and camera, and frequent the bars where no one talks to me. My friends and family follow my career from a distance and wonder why I would choose to work in the harshest reality of all and what they don’t understand is that I finally live in a place where my pain is insignificant.
The wildest fantasies occur when I feel the most trapped. I am tied to this place and these people and I don’t know why I so often want to run when I love this place and these people. I sit, fists clenched, my body frozen, because I am afraid that if I were to move, I would never stop moving, and home is a place that is still.