13 August 2016

I blinked, and suddenly it’s Saturday night. (Yep. Just started crying. Called it.)

In 13 hours I’ll be on a plane, and Scotland will be far below me, and I’ll probably be bawling again but I’ll be trying not to because I hate crying in public and I don’t want anyone’s sympathy.

I don’t want to go back. I don’t want to ever leave this place because it’s perfect.

No. Not perfect.

I couldn’t handle perfect.

But it’s right. It’s good.

It’s broken and messy and good.

I don’t know why leaving here is so hard, because I’ve been so many places and therein encountered so much beauty. On a logical level it makes no sense, which if you know me well you know is infuriating to me because I like to sort out all my feelings into logical categories so that I can justify feeling them.

(if you’re finding this to be becoming confusing, you’re not alone. i’m currently lost.)

Today I had the incredible privilege to get forced to climb Arthur’s Seat here in Edinburgh. I say ‘forced’ because I would’ve let myself fall to my death at the halfway point (or earlier…) if not for my friend Michael who made me keep on. We need people like that in our lives, all of us: people who don’t let us quit and push us to do all that we were made for.

In between loudly griping about how I was going to die and trying to crack jokes about how I was actually about to die, I warned him that once I got up to the top of the (almost-)mountain that I wasn’t going to want to come down.

I was a little bit wrong.

The wind was so strong at the peak that I almost got blown over. And since I was an idiot and wore heels, I was really ready to get to some place safer. So we reached the summit, took pictures, enjoyed the view, and then hurried down a ways.

I think Michael thinks I stopped to take a breather or take a picture or something.

I didn’t.

I stopped because all of a sudden coming down off that (almost-)mountain meant acknowledging that I have to come away from Scotland.

And I couldn’t.

Gazing out from that vantage point, out over the city and the bay and the castle and the hills of Edinburgh…it was nearly too much. I didn’t cry. I don’t cry in front of people, and I certainly don’t cry in front of people when I’m standing on the side of an (almost-)mountain in heels trying to maintain my balance in the wind.

But my voice cracked when I murmured that I didn’t want to come down. I didn’t want to go back.

I don’t know what’s waiting for me in the States. My family moved from California to Texas while I’ve been here. I move into student housing on Wednesday with one person I know, one person I’ve seen around campus, and one person I’ve never met. I start my junior year and business classes and trying to decide which extracurriculars to pursue. I make decisions about which job I want to have and how many hours I’ll be willing to work so I can put how much into the bank (to save to get back here.)

I don’t want the uncertainty.

I think maybe that’s why this farewell is so hard.

Scotland feels safe for its years of history, its sense of stability and lastingness.

I just want to feel safe. It’s what I’ve wanted for years.

I think—no, I know that I came to Scotland hoping beyond hope that somehow I’d meet Mr. Perfect and he’d sweep me off my feet and wrap me up in strong arms and I’d end up living some Scottish fairy tale that would banish my fears and make everything all right. Everything about my personality and habits was working against that outcome, but I still wanted it to happen.

I didn’t.

I didn’t find Mr. Perfect, didn’t get swept up in a whirlwind romance, didn’t find that my perfectly-ordinary story is actually a fairy tale.

So, yeah, I’m kind of bummed about that. But simultaneously I know that I’m not done changing, and I don’t think I’m actually ready to settle down with any one person.

I want to be safe. I want to be in a relationship so that I can trust someone to care enough to hold me when the world feels so topsy-turvy violent.

That has nothing to do with Scotland.

That’s more just me trying to figure out why I can’t stop crying no matter how hard I try.

I am flying out of Scotland tomorrow.

I take with me dozens of memories, way too much money’s worth of souvenirs, and a deeper love of Scotland than I ever thought possible.

I didn’t fall in love with a man. I fell in love with an entire country.

And don’t worry, my love: I’ll be back.

Soon.

– Melissa

(And yes, there’s probably more to say, but I need to pack and sleep. We meet downstairs at 5:25 tomorrow morning… Yay…)

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