My Own Four Walls
On this late January morning, I watched the suns' light fill an American sky through my wannabe venetian blinds. A flight only just recently swept Wes and I away from Ben Gurion international airport, located just on the outskirts of Tel Aviv, Irsael. The flight took me direct to Los Angeles and lasted about 16 hours plus change. The flight was made funny by the older lady who sat in the aisle seat of our row. She looked to be early to mid 60's, slightly snooty and really liked to make some exaggerated movements. When a larger, somewhat clumsy passenger made a quick turn with his baggage in hand and struck her directly in the head, she careened forward with her head bobbling like she had just been gut checked from Japan's greatest sumo wrestler. "Oooh my God!!!" she blurted out, aghast at her own misfortune. Physical comedy at its greatest.
Wes and I landed in somewhat of an organizational mess, as we both had not yet formally planned out our next steps. I had to catch a train to San Diego, he had to try and jump on an earlier flight to Seattle. And displaying a frequent occurrence of men, or perhaps just Greenberg men, the both of us did not foresee the moment of terrible reality arriving, the true end of our journey, the time for saying goodbye. The moment struck with a horrible abruptness, and when the realization dawned in our minds, I think we both stood frozen in silence for a few seconds. I gathered my bags up and glanced at where I had to go, and then came in for a painfully short hug. Hearty clap on the back, traveler heart to traveler heart, soul to soul. I told my brother I loved him. He spoke a few short words about how incredible the trip was, yet the words did nothing to console the stinging shittiness that our trip was over.
Saying goodbye is an artform. There are those times when you say all the right things; you skillfully disclose those words in turn that are funny, or that are an overwhelming combination of charm and kindness, or that can convey with conviction how much you appreciate the person or persons. However I think for most and I, those smooth operations are few and far between. When saying goodbye to someone close, I have to keep that exchange short, or emotional ships will be wrecking. I am and remain at times, the most sentimental of schmucks.
I caught a bus to Union Station in downtown LA, and from there hopped on a Pacific Cruiser Amtrack train for San Diego. After arriving it took a few pay phone calls to reach my roommate Alex, and the third call finally got through. When he picked me up, it was around 12pm PST, the San Diego sun was shining, and I had been on the road and out of a comfort zone for upwards of 30 hours. The only stop I wanted to make on the way home was at Romero's Mexican Restaurant to get one of their breakfast burritos. Those damn burritos ooze with deliciousness and I had been thinking about getting one for the past few days. I think it will now be a Pacific Beach homecoming ritual.
The apartment was a site for sore, swollen eyes, and mine were smiling. I was only gone for 6 weeks, but the last 4 weeks knew a road that was at times hard and grueling: living out of backpacks, sleeping in ratty bunk bed hostels or army cots, eating shotty or even skipping meals on occasion. Wes and I were in each others presence, and I really mean PRESENCE, as in nearly every sleeping or waking moment of the day, for four weeks straight. For these reasons and more, it felt really good to back at my place.
I ate my burrito while watching TV with Alex, catching up on news and trading a few stories. Afterwards I took a long, hot shower, not wearing sandals or worrying about what I might contract from the shower floor. And finally, it came time to go into my room, my four walls of private, personal, woomb-like space, and shut the door on absolutely everything in the world. I shut the door and locked it, savoring the latching sound, my mind rife with excitement to be in my own bed again. I needed to unplug from everything, not see or hear another human being, and get some much needed rest. I didn't leave my apartment for almost 24 hours. They were a solitary 24 hours I was most happy and comfortable to lose.