“And I have the apartment until the end of August.”

I plan to come back to the US relatively soon. Grad school probably has to happen. But still. The enormity of the project that’s awaiting, my fondness for certain individuals that I’m leaving behind, and the disproportionate affection I have for my apartment which is no longer my apartment (tomorrow is September 1st!),  is giving the whole leaving-the-country situation an unanticipated weight.  A sort of uneasiness in my stomach and fingers and toes. Like waking up to a scratchy throat that you didn’t see coming.

There was the going away extravaganza, which was a wonderful weekend of old friends and newer ones, eating out and walking in the sun and making tacos. It was, actually, delightfully extravagant, thanks to everyone who made it. Some of em traveled quite a way.  Of course, I sniffled when the goodbyes had to happen.

There was the massive getting rid of the stuff. Seven years of living in the US has accumulated. Thriving on the drama of the statement, I announced to everyone I know that everything will go, and I will return to Bangladesh with the two suitcases that I came with. Which is all very easy to say and then when it came down to it, for some reason I managed to convince myself that I REALLY DO NEED a holey pair of pants that I haven’t worn since freshman year because MAYBE they’ll magically fit again tomorrow. Ultimately, nothing actually happened until Rebecca sternly stood next to me and glared when I put anything in the “keep for now” pile instead of the “put in a garbage bag which will then go into a wheely dolly thing that has been borrowed from Rosemary for the very purpose of taking things to Boomerangs” pile. Of course,  when I started feeling like I was in a weird purgatory because  I had been putting things in garbage bags for days and days and nothing was changing, I crossed the line from being over-attached to my belongings to having a frenzied animosity towards everything I owned. At that point I started frenetically throwing things away, shouting that I needed nothing, NOTHING, YOU DON’T NEED ANYTHING TO SURVIVE, and Rebecca had to reel me in.

There’s the fact that I always say “going home” when I talk about going to Bangladesh, but I forget, sometimes, that this place is exactly that, too. Something happens when you create a place for yourself, have yourself your little peeling-paint room. I’ve made  a Thanksgiving turkey or two with Nabil in this house, and Rebecca owned keys so she could let herself in if she chose to pop over from New York some weekend. Pull out futons meant that anytime a friend needed a place to stay, this was it.

My curmudgeon landlord (who randomly appeared a few hours ago and : a) panicked because I was still here and tried to throw me out of the house, despite what we all thought was a very clear understanding that Lauren, who is taking over my room, is not coming until tomorrow b) told me the reason the fridge leaks is because I have too much stuff in the fridge door c) asked, with an awkward wave at my dress, if I will dress differently in Bangladesh – “No head veil? Really?”)  is insisting on some sort of strange ceremonial key exchange tomorrow between me, him, and Lauren, where I hand him the keys and he hands them to her. With any luck, he’ll be curmudgeony enough tomorrow that I’ll keep the sniffles reined in.


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