The mountains. The water. The little shops. Mostly it was the women who cared for me, loved me, especially after my sister Karen died. I might have mysteriously disappeared in a big town or city. But here you are everywhere, love angels of Friday meals in a cardboard box, funny videos or newspaper clippings, and someone who hugs me really hard and won’t let go, even though I ease up on it two times in the length of that embrace.
The bookseller only remembers me because I remind him. Tells me my life is either unexciting (what does he know of Peru? Of New Zealand?) or a departure from this far flung town a long, long way from his New Jersey. But the other one, behind the cash register, he remembers me, and I him after a second glance. And his name, Micheael, comes to me completely, with relief, and a few scraps of memory, too.
It might be true that you can’t go home again, but my whole life has been nomadic, and this is not my home. Fast, it will not be the place I lived the longest. I return to remember the story of how I arrived, how I departed, and everything in between.