I have been in Canada for six months now. I came back a hurricane.
I took refuge in the impermanence of my dwelling: a canvas tent in a back yard, moved every few days either by me or the wind to keep the grass alive and to avoid growing roots. I loved the spot by the gazebo, twinkle lights strung up above me, providing a canopy of magic, but the days under the maple tree were kind to me too. Falling asleep to the leaves rustling by a wind I hadn’t noticed until I finally crawled into my sleeping bag and quieted my mind, suddenly making it seem a roar.
This was temporary. This too would pass.
But I am still here.
When he first asked me to spend the night, I said no, I would always leave before the sun came up. I would never let one day bleed into the next with him. I would wake him up at 4am, the sun threateningly close to the horizon, on those summer nights. We would roll out of bed, stars still visible, reassuring me that I had not broken my promises, as long as the heat bugs had not yet taken the place of the crickets. I would doze in the car as I urged him to race against the sunrise until finally I would crunch up the driveway, unzip my tent and roll into my sleeping bag, the taste of smoke still on my tongue.
One time he held my hand and made me flinch.
When he told me he had found a place, and he wanted to share it with me, I wanted laugh. Or to cringe. I didn’t want a “place.”
When he showed me the place, the lake groaning under the ice whispered my name. Orion hung over the roof of the house, the birch trees reaching up towards his sword, their arms falling just short. In that moment I saw the summer ahead. I saw my skirt hanging over the edge of the hammock that I would sling between those birches, the vegetable boxes he would find me digging in when he came home, and I could hear the snap of the fire pit down by the water.
I put my favourite candle on the hearth, next to a Buddha statue that was left behind, and now I have a place.