I’ve been hibernating. The sky alternates between bruised purple and milky white. The trees are like arthritic hands. They are bony, twisted things, all knuckly branches.
Outside I see the remnants of the latest snowfall and it doesn’t look like a Norman Rockwell Christmas painting. The snow is dirty slush, leaving behind opaque puddles and bits of ice.
Last year I was in San Diego. My concession to winter was occasionally wearing close-toed shoes and a sweater; I never wore socks, the joy of it! Winter doesn’t really exist over there. The days get shorter and the nights certainly get colder, but it’s not truly winter. Not in any sense of the word.
So I have been living in a bit of denial since November. I made it through Christmas and then the three long months that have followed but I am on the verge of losing it. No matter how many years I have lived in England, I still can’t get used to it. Does anyone? I don’t think my native friends especially like it, but they seem to cope with it. Meanwhile, I get bouts of terrible homesickness.
Today I was reading the newspaper, and a writer said that the word ‘home’ feels heavy, burdened with ‘a standard nowhere ever meets’. I know exactly what this author means. My childhood home, the golden light of California, has attained mythical proportions. No place will ever measure up to it, perhaps not even the place itself.
So I feel paralyzed to make decisions; I am incapable of seeing myself in one place for long. I can’t commit. I am the bachelor who can’t settle down. This has undoubtedly affected our life in London. We continue to pay extortionate rent instead of trying to buy. Every conversation about this purgatory begins with an ‘if’ – ‘But if we move to California’, I will say hopefully.
Having lived nearly as long in another country as in the country of my birth, I feel constantly bereft. I can’t shake the feeling that I should be there when I am here. When I was there (in California) last year, I felt like something still wasn’t complete.
I started this blog because I felt trapped between two worlds. I still feel that way. It makes me wonder about other immigrants. Do they feel this displacement all the time? Do they have a constant yearning? Do they always feel the outsider, even in the place where they were born?
I know from experience that spring will cure me of the worst of these thoughts, at least for a little while. And I will be going to California in the summer for five weeks. I will see the sky open up, nature’s aquamarine jewel. I’ve missed it.