What I Leave Behind

As I sit on the hotel shuttle, my fellow riders turning their attention to the monitors now pumping the movie “Frozen” through the cabin, my heart is heavy thinking of all I left behind. Perhaps it sounds a bit dramatic, but every time I leave I am immediately reminded of why I stay.

When I begin to think of wandering of course at first only good things come to mind. My dear friend K won a trip and I find myself here, after a full day of travel, with two more days ahead of me before it comes time for passage home. Prior to departure I felt only excitement, thinking of how this could be a “bachelorette weekend” for K. My mind swirled about my own hopes and dreams, of having a family, of a lucrative career. I thought of the future I wanted to have and told her yes, I would go, one last trip; why not? It felt like “Come on, it’s a chance, let’s go and have fun!”

It seemed like such a good idea. It always does.

But it inevitably seems as though this feeling of “good idea” begins to fade with my first step out the door. My sweet Olive puppy’s face and reprimanding bark for leaving without her. Juno pup’s eyes staring through me through the window. But then, at first mention, I feel my emotions drop into my stomach: I left my heart behind.

There is a silly line in the movie “Pineapple Express” where James Franco’s character pounds the tattoo of Mila Kunis over his heart and says “THIS is your home.” That is how I feel now when I leave: I’ve left my heart, my home. He does not have a tattoo of me on his chest, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t home to me. All the little things he does – around the house, how we loves and dotes on our animals, how he always knows something is wrong without me ever telling him. Sometimes I think he reads me better than I do. We have traveled to places that have made us pine for our home, our dogs, but as long as I have him, I am safe. I have all I need. Curled up with my love under a tent of blankets and sheets is an ideal vacation. After hours and hours of travel to get to where I am going, I find that now I simply wish I were home.

Perhaps it is a sign of where I am at this juncture in life, perhaps it is a sign of maturity and waning wanderlust. Perhaps after a decade I simply feel he is such a part of me that I feel lost without him. Whatever it is, it makes my chest ache and I already know that when I crawl into bed tonight I will have to surround myself in a fort of pillows to make the bed feel as though it is crowded with the beating hearts I miss most.

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