Since we all seem to be talking about the same things these days, here's another one of the same old.
I'm back at home today. I haven't been here for two months, I think? The last time I was here, it was because I had an appointment with the doctor, who also happens to be my parents' doctor, which says a lot about my age and the stuff I now have to deal with, at least medically. Maybe it's best to say "I'm back at my parents'" instead, but that feels a little too final.
I have been at the flat for nine months now, and with every passing day it starts to feel like a more permanent arrangement. Not that I have anything against it. It's where things are headed at one point or another. But you know this year. Everything permanent has been packaged as temporary, and most of us have not really wrapped our heads around it, unless the change is so profound - a death, perhaps - that we are left with no choice but to deal with it.
Not much has changed around the house. Well, some things are not where they used to be, as you'd expect. The drive has changed, as well. On my way here my mother texted Shalla - she's with me, of course - asking her to warn me that I might be disoriented, because in the last two months a new intersection was built so close to where I usually make a turn. I thought it was nothing, but I didn't understand the text message the whole way through.
Maybe it's because I'm tired. It's already been a long day before it hit noon. Some last-minute shopping - I had to buy my little share of the noche buena, and I wouldn't dare bring old bread. We also packed a few things. I'm going to my home, and I'm packing clothes. Might as well make it formal.
I honestly thought I wouldn't be here today. Not that I don't want to, but with early signs of another surge (and all the indecision that comes with it) and my parents' initial paranoia when this all first began, I thought they'd dissuade me from going. Instead, they lent me a car and expected me to go back home for Christmas. Well, it's difficult to say no to familial ties, for better or worse. Again, unless the change is so profound.
At least I'm spared the family reunions. I never really hated them, but I wouldn't miss them. There are questions you don't want hoisted upon yourself. There are toxic behaviors you don't want to live through all over again. This time we're staying apart to keep ourselves healthy. Can this be a good excuse in succeeding years? "We have to stay healthy for the next Christmas, so I send my regrets." Well, familial ties, for better or worse.
It's these changes we're forced to grapple with sooner or later. I don't consider myself lucky to have been insulated from most of it for this long. My peers have already gone through it and have come out wiser, I guess. Sooner or later I will have to go through it, too. Nobody avoids the reckoning. Everything is inevitable. What feels temporary will turn out to be permanent, especially now that nothing is certain, except perhaps for a surge, and finger-pointing, and attempts to look in control. For now, though, there's spaghetti and roast chicken. Or at least, for later.
This isn't what I planned to write, to be honest, but, well, here we are.