I came home.
I didn’t like arriving in Amsterdam. It isn’t my city anymore and it never really was.
I realised I didn’t know where my house keys were. Normally I make sure I’ve got them when I travel back but this time I hadn't thought about it for a second.
The same tram, the same street, the crowds of people.
I found my house keys and I wondered if everything inside had changed now I “officially” left. When I sent a message earlier today about what time I would be back, I almost wrote “19.30 I’ll be home”. It is what I thought but when I had written “be” I wondered if “home” was the right word. I wrote it down anyway. Twice. The last one with a question mark.
I opened the front door and the first thing I saw were the Buddhist prayer flags I hung in the living room once. They were in the hallway now. Maybe inside all my traces would have been gone.
But they weren’t. It was as if I had never left and it was a good feeling. All my books were there and the collections of odd objects Albert and I collected through the years. I saw the c.d. I had received as a present a few weeks ago and to which I’d been listening all my way back here. We had been listening to the same c.d. in the last weeks.
I walked outside into the little garden. I saw the failed clay objects I made a long time ago lying where they had always been lying. The plants Andrée gave us, because she knew about what lives in the shade, were doing well. The blackbird was singing. I said hello to my four big snails. I imagened they had grown but they couldn’t have after their wintersleep. The chestnut tree had new leaves and the lilac had already bloomed, I had seen the flowers standing inside.
It is a nice little garden, I always liked it but never put a lot of energy in it. And now I thought “So many things I ..... “ but I stopped before the “could”. I don’t want to use those words anymore. Could have and should have. You can’t change the past and I don’t want to change the past. I’ve got a beautiful past and it was a good time in this house. I refused to call it home for a long time but it has been my home. And in a way it still is.
Because I am here.
I am good at being here. You have to be when you are always leaving and when here is always somewhere else.