I can’t explain what it’s like to go back home for a weekend. To smell and see and feel things that belong to another era of my life—a time that seems distant and dreamlike to me now. Funny, terrifying, that the very place that defined my first 18 years could feel so far away so quickly. I am afraid of a long future away from the wide-open sky and the watchful mountains, the land that brought me up.
They’re right when they say that new places change people. It’s not the kind of change that comes in a sudden, painful stab—it’s the kind that slips in unnoticed until one day, months or years in the future, you begin to feel a nagging ache. When did it start? Where did it come from, exactly? What does it even mean? You’ll never know. But it’s there.