I didn’t mean to write. But I found myself sitting in my room, and a sheet of paper appeared in my hands, and my pen nudged against my fingers, and words are flowing out now. I didn’t mean to write because it would mean admitting that we’re so far apart, separated by an ocean and a smattering of countries between us. I didn’t write because my letter wouldn’t reach you for weeks if it didn’t get lost in the mail, and I wouldn’t be the same person who wrote it any more. I didn’t write mostly because I think about you all the time, I dream that you’re here every night, I wake up hoping to find you next to me and reach out to touch your head but you aren’t there. I didn’t write because I feel the strangest sense of guilt and I fear you haven’t forgiven me for leaving you there. I fear you’ll never be able to forgive me, I fear you’ll get used to life without me, I fear you’ll never get used to life without me and spend each hour wondering where I went, asking yourself “why?”
I fear. But you know that, don’t you? You’re the only one who saw me in that silent fear that lurks at the back of my eyes every waking moment and is laid to rest every night in my dreams. You heard me talking to myself for hours at end and laugh and recite poetry and nod at the book I was reading. Maybe I was just talking to you. I’m not so sure of anything these days. I’d say I’m happy, yes. I’d say I am.
The church bells are ringing again, almost as though to remind me of something I forget each day. Did I tell you that my house is in a lane right behind an old church? I can see its steeple from my window and hear its bell toll loud and clear as if I were the one ringing it. I sometimes suddenly realize how small this town is. You can see this steeple no matter where you go, and when I’m walking home, I can see exactly where I want to go. That hasn’t been a habit of mine – knowing where I’m going, you know? It’s reassuring in some strange way and really makes me wonder if I’ve grown up that much in these past weeks. My life is certainly so different now, and I have to admit, I’m enjoying being here.
Tübingen is, at its very heart, a medieval town; its very streets, paved with cobblestones I wonder from which faraway land, its roofed houses which have lived and stood for hundreds of years, its wise trees whose leaves are now turning an autumnal orange – they have all been around for longer than any mortal who lives here today. Is it any wonder that the church bells go on tolling hour after hour, cautioning us that quarter after quarter of an hour are passing us by?
We have our own clocks now, we might point out, and our own time. We have no need for a huge clock tower to tell us that another day has come to pass.
But I suspect the bells know better.
They disturb some of the others who live here. But not me. Every time I hear them (and that is quite often), I feel reminded that I am actually here now, living a real life, that my dreams (if that’s what I’m supposed to call them) are coming true.
I did it. I moved out of my home, away from a family who mean so much to me, out of the country I have until now spent my whole life in, and away from everything I considered familiar and comfortable – and nothing collapsed. The world grew bigger, keeps growing, and I found a new home. I’ve been here for a little over a month now, and I know in my heart that I love Tübingen already.
A town with more trees than people, more streets than cars (well, one can hope) and one of the most wonderful universities I can imagine. You can feel it’s a student’s town, the youth and idealistic urge to change the world are so thick in the air I suspect I’m breathing it all in as I write. And the friends I’ve made already, the people I’ve met make it so easy to feel like I belong too, in some strange way, in this beautiful place. It’s peaceful and energetic, relaxed and inspired, old and modern all at the same time. Your Shakespeare and my Goethe, his Freud and her Hegel, their literature and our intellect, our philosophy, our art and history and culture and thirst all thrive here. I’m quite smitten, you must’ve noticed.
I was so afraid, so lost but also so nervously excited before I came here, and I still am, but now there’s a sort of contentedness to it. To me. I fumble, but I also continue. I trip on the cobblestones but I also get up and turn to the next street and then the next. I think I’m growing up. I feel slightly, ever so slightly more confident and motivated and inspired with each passing day.
I feel happy. That’s a sentence we humans rarely allow ourselves to construct, isn’t it?
And writing to you is feeding some unknown hunger in me, to be…more. It feels as though getting all that out on paper was the same as hugging you and kissing your nose. I don’t need to send it, you don’t need to read it – you can’t read, you’re a dog – and yet this letter is more real to me than most known forms of communication. It will always stay with me, but once again, we’ll speak to each other without words. Through touch, which makes me dissolve into a feeling I have never had to name yet. Home.
I would say, now that I’ve moved out, I’m living my own life of which you are only one part, that home is where I am in this moment and that I will not be shackled by one city where I spent the most time or that set of walls where I used to hide and feel safe. But I’d be fooling myself. My life is here now, and I can only hope it goes forward and doesn’t settle down in one corner of the world. But as long as you’re there, which I know you forever will be, waiting for me, that house will always be home. And I tell myself that that’s alright too.
I miss you every day, you have to know that. I can’t remember my life before you. And I know you miss me too, and I can’t think of a reason good enough to convince you why I had to go. Know that you’re here with me too. Not in spirit, literally – strands of your hair travelled with me in my suitcase to make sure I had you with me. I find them in my cupboard beneath my clothes sometimes, and I think of you. And I smile to think of what it’ll be like to meet you again.
I can’t wait, honestly, but I’ll wait.
Until then, all my love finds itself finding you.
yours forever and with all my crooked heart,
by Mrunmayee Saudade
Art- Matthias Jung